Motor insurance specialist sold off to French group

The Leeds office of Mills & Reeve has advised the outgoing shareholders in WMS Group on the sale of the business to French mechanical breakdown insurer, Opteven Group.

Established in 2003, WMS Group is one of the UK’s leading business-to-business car warranty suppliers, providing extended warranty cover and other motoring protection to over 3,500 dealerships across the UK.

Opteven, based in Lyon, France, is the largest mechanical breakdown insurer in France and the second largest in Europe. It serves markets across Europe through its offices in France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK’s office in Warrington.

Opteven already has an established operational presence in UK and the acquisition of WMS Group will enable it to fulfil its ambitious growth plans.

John Colinswood, managing director at WMS Group, said: “2019 was a great year for WMS Group, but 2020 will be even better. The acquisition by the Opteven Group is only the start, there is so much more in the pipeline that will revolutionise the warranty sector in the UK.

“With Opteven’s support we plan to create new and exciting products to continually support our dealer partners. In addition, Opteven now also provide incredible career and development opportunities to the team at WMS.”

Alex Kenworthy, principal associate in the Leeds office of Mills & Reeve who advised on the deal, said: “WMS is an excellent business which enjoys a market leading position and it was a real pleasure to act for John and his fellow shareholders on the sale. The business is a perfect fit for Opteven which will now have an ideal platform to further expand its operations in the UK.”

Martin Quail, Opteven’s CEO for Northern Europe, said: “We looked for a business that was not only market-leading but most importantly, placed great service and authentic customer relationships at the core of their business.

“We were incredibly impressed with the business and the whole WMS team and I are really looking forward to working with our new colleagues to develop and grow this great business.”