Addison Lee is one of the most well-known taxi firms in London, and since the seventies John Griffin has worked hard to expand the company, and has even enlisted the help of his son Liam who is currently chief executive. However, last week it was announced that the British company had been sold to the American private-equity giant Carlyle for three hundred million pounds, and even though they no longer own the company both father and son will still have a partial stake and will continue to work with the Carlyle group in order to expand the company.
Carlyle have already stated that they are planning on expanding Addison Lee’s services so that they can start travelling outside of the M25, effectively taking fares from London suburbs. However, they hope that in a few years’ time the company will be known not only nationwide but also across the world, and they are hoping that Carlyle’s expertise in international business will help the company achieve this. Discussing the plans for the future, Liam Griffin said: “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.”
While this may be good news for Addison Lee, taxi drivers who work in and around London may be concerned that they will soon be pushed out of the market, and will therefore struggle to pay for necessities such as taxi insurance and licensing. It is true that Addison Lee currently has the upper hand over other companies, mainly due to their top of the range IT system that manages all the bookings for its 4,500 strong fleet. Andrew Burgess, managing director of Carlyle Europe Partners said that he was keen for the company’s IT system to be used as a way to help the company expand across the UK, especially as customers can book a taxi using an app on their phones.
It will be interesting to see how Addison Lee expands over the next few months, especially if they start offering their services outside of the M25 and in other cities across the UK. Hopefully, this will not have too much impact on other taxi firms in the country, but if it does it is highly likely that local councils will be called upon to step in and help those trying to work in the area.