Zenith, the leading specialist independent UK leasing and fleet management provider to some of the largest companies in the country, is to be acquired by Bridgepoint from Hg Capital in a transaction totaling £750 million.
Established in 1989 and headquartered in Leeds, the company focuses on both the corporate car and consumer markets with services that typically range from funding company cars or commercial vehicles, providing flexible employee benefit schemes or to delivering fully outsourced fleet management services. It also provides 'white label' back office fleet management systems and services to vehicle manufacturers and financial services businesses.
Tim Buchan, chief executive officer of Zenith, said of the transaction: "This marks another milestone in the development of Zenith. We thank Hg for their contribution and welcome Bridgepoint as our new partner. They share our ambitions to consolidate and grow our position as the No 1 corporate fleet provider in the UK and to transform Zenith into a broader based business."
Mark Phillips, chief financial officer, commented: "Through the support of private equity and our banking partners, Zenith has been able to grow and Bridgepoint's new investment will support the management team to continue to build Zenith, open up new markets and extend the value proposition both in the UK and Europe".
Emma Watford, partner at Bridgepoint and head of its business services sector team, commented: "Zenith is already best-in-class with a proven business model that has had an unbroken track record of growth over a long period. It benefits from an exceptional management team and, with them, we believe that the business can continue its impressive growth trajectory through its continued focus on customer service, technology and targeted acquisition activity."
The UK fleet services market is a large, growing and resilient market worth c.£14bn (c.5m vehicles) thanks to increased outsourcing and employment growth. Salary sacrifice (through which employees lease cars for personal use) has tripled in the last three years and is expected to continue to grow over the next five years.
Debt financing for the transaction will be provided by HSBC, RBS and Lloyds.
Advisers to Bridgepoint involved in the transaction included:
(Corporate finance) HSBC & Investec, (Legal) White & Case, (Commercial) LEK, (Financial, IT and Tax) Deloitte, (Environmental) ERM, (Tax structuring and securitisation) EY.
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