RSM advises management team on the acquisition of Abellio UK

28 February 2023

RSM UK has advised the management team at Abellio UK on its acquisition of the company from Nederlandse Spoorwegen, the Dutch state-owned rail operator. The deal marks a significant milestone in the UK transport sector and transfers the company to domestic ownership after approximately 20 years.

A multi-disciplinary team from RSM advised managing director Dominic Booth who has been at Abellio UK since 2007. He, along with the management team, will continue to run Abellio UK’s existing operations and franchises through a newly created company called Transport UK Group Ltd.

Transport UK Group Ltd will serve millions of passengers a year, operating more than 60 London bus routes and four UK rail passenger services (East Midlands Railway and West Midlands Railway, Greater Anglia and a 50:50 joint venture with Serco on Merseyrail).

Dominic Booth, managing director at Abellio UK (now Transport UK Group) said: ‘We are thrilled to return key public transport services back into UK ownership. While our name will change to Transport UK Group, our values remain the same. We will continue to play a key role in the country’s transport sector, ensuring the provision of our award-winning services to passengers around the UK and driving innovation to develop a low-emission UK transport network.

‘I am grateful to RSM for the breadth and depth of their advice to the management team to ensure the successful completion of the transaction. They worked closely with the team to understand a range of complex issues and provided clear, concise advice to senior management, as well as support along the way.’

Natalie Ord, partner at RSM UK, said: ‘This deal brings the provision of vital services fully into UK ownership and offers a framework for continuity, certainty and confidence for all key stakeholders. Dominic and the team have a strong track record in the industry and their experience will be instrumental in their plans to drive long-term growth opportunities.

‘This was a complicated cross-border transaction with many moving parts, highlighting the importance of an integrated team of specialist advisors. Abellio UK has been a valued client of RSM’s for many years and it has been fantastic to support Dominic, Ed, Alan and the team through this journey. We wish them all the best.’

The RSM team spanned a number of specialisms including M&A, financial modelling, transaction tax, employment tax, and accounting and financial reporting. The deal team includes Natalie Ord, Mark Colling, Lucy Roberts, Henry Crane (M&A); Simon Martin, Chris Chittleborough (financial modelling); Colin Smyth, Jack Bentham (transaction tax); Martin Cooper, Emily Sloane (employment tax); Paul Merris, Helen Jones (accounting and financial reporting).

The deal completed on 28 February 2023 following receipt of all formal regulatory approval from partners including the Department for Transport, Transport for London, and Merseytravel. Regulatory consent has been submitted to the Office for Rail and Road and this is expected to be issued 28 days after completion.