Private equity fund Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) is considering a sale of its stake in Gatwick Airport, it has been reported.
The US infrastructure specialist owns a 42 per cent stake in Gatwick, which The Sunday Times reports it could sell for £10bn.
Gatwick is the UK’s second-largest airport after Heathrow and the ninth-largest airport in Europe.
There has been widespread speculation that GIP is planning on cashing in its stakes in both Gatwick and Edinburgh airports.
One industry figure said: “Everyone assumes GIP will sell out of Gatwick and Edinburgh.”
Airports operator BAA sold its stakes in Gatwick and Edinburgh to GIP in 2009 and 2012 respectively as part of a Competition Commission requirement to break up previously state-owned assets.
GIP acquired its stake in Gatwick in 2009 for £1.5bn and its stake in Edinburgh in 2012 for £807m.
In 2016 GIP sold its 75 per cent stake in London’s City airport for £2bn to a Canadian and Kuwaiti consortium, led by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Borealis Infrastructure.
Separately Ardian, the owners of a 49 per cent stake in Luton airport, the UK’s fifth biggest, is reported to have hired bankers Rothschild to explore a sale.
The French investment company bought its stake in Luton for €508m (£445m) in 2013 from Spanish motorway toll company Abertis.
A spokesperson for GIP said: “GIP does not comment on market rumour or speculation and this clearly is speculation.”