Trainline IPO derailed by KKR late booking

Speculation had been rife since the middle of 2014 that Trainline, the UK online train booking services firm, was to IPO on the London Stock Exchange early this year. This would have provided Exponent Private Equity with an exit from its £170m investment in the company, made back in summer 2006. Just a couple of weeks ago the Internet firm had gone as far as appointing advisors to begin the IPO process, with valuations for the whole company hovering around the £500m mark; potentially returning Exponent with a pretty hefty return on investment. 

Today, however, it was announced that Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) had come forward and made an offer for Trainline, the value of which at this point no one is disclosing.  This isn’t KKR’s first attempt to jump on board the Trainline.com ride. The US group, among others, including Blackstone, Bridgepoint and the US online booking company Priceline.com, were all linked as possible buyers back in October 2010 with a valuation of £300m being attached to Trainline. 

At that point it would appear that potential buyers didn’t quite see eye to eye to with the reported £300m price tag and after 18 months of speculation the original deal was pushed in to the sidings and Exponent were reported to have concluded it was not the right time to sell. 

It would appear that KKR are now ready to climb on board and continue the Trainline journey.