Stephenson Harwood advises on acquisition of Arriva plc

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised longstanding client Arriva on its acquisition from Deutsche Bahn by I Squared Capital.

Arriva is a leading provider of passenger transport across 10 European countries and one of the largest bus operators in London, where it operates the iconic red double-decker buses for Transport for London. It also has a significant presence in other parts of the UK bus market, and is responsible for about 15 per cent of the UK passenger rail market.

Deutsche Bahn AG, the national railway company of Germany and a state-owned enterprise under the control of the German government, originally acquired Arriva in 2010.  I Squared Capital is an independent global infrastructure manager with over $37 billion in assets under management.

The firm acted for Arriva in multiple roles on this deal. Corporate partner Ben Mercer acted for the directors of the seller entity, Arriva Investments Ltd, in relation to the sale, while corporate partner Jonathan Bridcut and employment partner Stephen Richards advised Arriva plc in relation to its pension schemes.

"Arriva has been a client of the firm for many years and it is exciting to play a role in this next stage of its evolution as it continues to develop its sustainability strategy across Europe," said Ben Mercer, corporate finance partner, Stephenson Harwood. "This deal is demonstrative of the wealth of experience Stephenson Harwood offers in two of its key areas of focus - transportation and trade and decarbonisation - and highlights the firm's ability to field teams able to work seamlessly across practice areas to meet the objectives of its clients."

In addition to partners Ben Mercer, Jonathan Bridcut, and Stephen Richards, the Stephenson Harwood team comprised of corporate managing associate Michelle Gomes and associate Charmaine Yuen, and pensions consultant Dan Bowman. Arriva client relationship partner and co-head of rail Suzanne Tarplee also provided support to the team.

The sale is expected to complete in 2024, subject to approval from Deutsche Bahn's board and Germany’s Federal Transport Ministry.

This is the second major corporate transaction in the bus and rail sector that the firm has acted on in 2023, following on from the management buyout of Abellio UK from the Dutch state-owned rail company, Nederlandse Spoorwegen, in February.