Friday, April 19, 2013

Addison Lee boss John Griffin bags a £300 million fare as he sells minicab firm

Founded with one car in Battersea in 1975, father and son team, John and Liam Griffin, sold the business today to the Carlyle Group — which also owns the RAC and health food chain Holland & Barrett.

The Griffins and the family of Lenny Foster, who co-founded the minicab empire, will share those spoils while retaining a small stake in the business.

It has been quite a rise to fortune for John Griffin as, in the Seventies, he was forced to ditch his apprenticeship as an accountant and turn to mini-cabbing in order to make ends meet and rescue his father’s business.

Today, Addison Lee uses a cutting edge IT system to manage bookings for its 4500 cars after emerging as the major competitor to London’s black cabs.

Under the terms of the deal, the elder Griffin, John, will remain as chairman and the younger as chief executive. Drivers who work for the company don’t own shares and so will not get a windfall after today’s deal.

Liam Griffin told the Evening Standard: “We’re very much concentrated in central London but now we can look at going further afield within the M25, like the suburbs. We’ll look primarily at that area first.”

Carlyle Europe Partners managing director Andrew Burgess said he was keen to roll out Addison Lee to other cities in the UK which could benefit from the cabbie’s use of apps and technology that creates such an “efficient dispatch” system.

Internationally, Addison Lee already has burgeoning joint ventures in Paris and New York and the younger Griffin said that Carlyle’s deep international experience — it has 33 offices around the world — would help Addison Lee make major breakthroughs overseas.

The cabbie is also looking to widen the range of accounts with blue-chip corporates, which should mean that it will end up hiring more than the 4000 cab drivers that Addison Lee employs today.

John Griffin courted controversy last year, when he spoke out against London cyclists.

He claimed they were to blame for their own injuries on the capital’s busy roads, arguing that they “leap onto a vehicle which offers them no protection except a padded plastic hat”.

He added that people were safer taking taxis as they would be “sitting inside a protected space with impact bars and air bags and paying extortionate amounts of taxes on our vehicle purchase, parking, servicing, insurance and road tax”.

He also argued that for compulsory training and insurance for London’s cyclists, who were sufficiently angered to accuse him of “victim blaming”.

Carlyle was advised on the transaction by Deloitte, OC&C and Latham & Watkins. Addison Lee was advised by Catalyst Corporate Finance.

Source: Evening Standard.


Anonymous said...

BBC London are calling addison lee a Taxi company on their web page. May not seem like a big deal, but grffin has deliberately called his firm a taxi company for years. This is a deliberate ploy to blur the lines between taxi and private hire operators in the minds of the public and reporters. We know there is a massive deference between ph and taxis. If you want to call the BBC and ask them to change it then tel 0370 010 0222.

Anonymous said...

Griffin has sold up now to maximise his profits, AL are estimated to have lost 30% of work to Hailo. In a years time he would unlikely get such a princely sum. Its a similar tactic used by John Hunt of Foxton's who sold them also to an asset management company at the beginning of the banking collapse.
Also AL drivers have seen their earnings drop significantly due to Hailo and the extra drivers picked up from the purchase of Lewis Day. It has caused the drivers to set up their own assocation to tackle their management who treat them poorly. Under the new management they will end up being worse off on a minimun wage.
I would predict that Griffin & his son will not be on the board after 12 months, mass redunancies of office staff and relocation of H/Q.
What is worrying is the Carlyle Grp have people on the board in high places, particularly politically. They will no doubt be lobbying their buddies in parliament for national PH licensing and will no doubt carry more clout then Griffin. It is important that the trade finally come together to fight this or we will be adding to the unemployment figures. SW BOY