Addison Lee buy UK Chauffeur operator, Tristar Worldwide

Addison Lee Tristar buyout

Addison Lee acquires Tristar in multi-million pound deal, creating Europe’s largest executive car service and strengthening its position in the UK


Today, 29 June 2016, The Carlyle Group, which owns the Addison Lee brand has announced it has purchased Tristar Worldwide in a rumoured multi-million pound deal. Tristar Worldwide which has global revenues of £50 million, employs more than 200 staff and has over 450 chauffeurs was founded in 1978.

Tristar, has a reputation for being one of the most trusted brands in the industry and can claim to have helped pioneer airline door-to-door luxury chauffeur services for global airline companies, such as Virgin Atlantic and Emirates Airline. The deal announced today follows a £9.75 million management buyout in 2008, backed in part by private equity house Octopus Ventures which contributed £4.8m to the MBO.

The Tristar brand will continue to be bolstered by Addison Lee’s substantial fleet, 23,000 business customers and market leading technology. The buyout will see Tristar and Addison Lee operating the largest executive chauffeur car fleet in the UK, and with a fleet of almost 1,000 premium vehicles around the world, becoming the market leader in the executive car market.          

The deal was brokered by Cavendish Corporate Finance, who advised Tristar on the deal. Jonathan Buxton, Partner and Head of the Consumer Group at Cavendish Corporate Finance, saying: “Appetite for luxury car services is expanding around the world, as increasingly high net worth individuals and business professionals expect to be able to access a truly premium service wherever they travel. China outbound alone is a huge opportunity, with significant increases forecast in both business and independent leisure travel.

“I am delighted that we were able to create a competitive process for the sale of Tristar, drawing, in particular, on the local expertise of our partner firms across the Far East and in the USA, culminating in the sale to Addison Lee. Addison Lee and Tristar have the potential to create a truly global luxury car operator, able to offer a seamless international service across markets and geographies. With demand growing strongly, we expect to see further transactions in both luxury services and travel.”

The deal, which was a logical step according to industry insiders will enable Addison Lee and Tristar to benefit from providing clients with a variety of vehicles when tendering for contracts. Currently companies are faced with a tendering process that can leave low-level staff being driven in S Class Mercedes, because the services of standard minicabs isn’t to their ‘high standard’, yet being able to justify the cost of chauffeuring certain employees creates problems.

Even though both Tristar and Addison Lee fleets are based predominantly in London, both have operations in the North of England – Frodsham and Stockport respectively. With high-profile tenders up for grabs over the next six to twelve months in the North West, and with further opportunities to pickup contracts from existing operator’s in the North, the timing of the deal could be a masterstroke by the Carlyle Group.

Addison Lee’s purchase of Tristar Worldwide has now created Europe’s largest executive car service. With Tristar’s operations in the USA, Asia, UK and continental Europe, Addison Lee is now a major international operator of car services.

Addison Lee Chief Executive Officer, Andy Boland says, “This is a major landmark for our business. Our customers will benefit from access to the best executive car service in the world. Coming together with Tristar means our shared ethos and commitment to quality, service and reliability can be expanded globally.”

The acquisition fulfils both companies’ strategy to focus on the premium end of the market and increase the availability of high quality car services to customers. There is strong demand for executive car services, particularly on a trans-Atlantic basis, which means the combined business is well positioned for growth.

When taken as a whole, this creates Europe’s largest car service operator with over 5,000 cars and drivers, and a team of over 800 dedicated to delivering the best possible customer service.

Andy Boland, CEO, Addison Lee, adds: “There will be significant growth in the executive car market following the 15% jump in volumes we saw in 2015. With Tristar, we will be able to take our service to the next level and into new markets around the world. For the customers of both companies this means a better and more efficient experience and a global service.”

Dean de Beer, CEO, Tristar Worldwide says: “Both Addison Lee and Tristar are market leaders in their respective sectors with long standing reputations for service quality and reliability. When we set out to look for a partner with whom we can grow and take our business to the next level, Addison Lee was the obvious choice.  I am proud of what we have achieved so far and excited about the next chapter for Tristar.”

Jane Vinson of Octopus Ventures, who backed Tristar Worldwide in 2008 says: “Having worked with Dean and the wider Tristar team since 2008, we are delighted that today they have been acquired by Addison Lee, and combined they now make up the largest executive car service in Europe. The team have achieved impressive international growth and customer contracts in the time we’ve worked together, so today marks an exciting next step – we wish them every success.”

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