Investor snaps up Zenith in £750m deal

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Leeds independent vehicle leasing business Zenith has been acquired in a deal worth £750m.

Owners HgCapital has agreed to sell to private equity investor Bridgepoint just five months after Zenith denied rumours of a sale.

It is the sixth successive MBO of Zenith in 14 years for the company, which has operations in Solihull and Wokingham. It employs around 500 people and operates a fleet of around 85,000 vehicles.

HgCapital invested in Leasedrive for the first time in December 2013, with LDC retaining a minority stake in the business. It completed the merger with Zenith in February 2014.

It says the company has delivered double-digit revenue and EBITDA growth over the past year.

Andrew Land, partner, HgCapital, said: “We have had a very successful partnership with the Zenith management team and are proud to have been part of the Company’s success.

“The business model has been a great fit with Hg’s investment strategy, providing mission-critical services to customers through long-term relationships and the use of proprietary technology. We have no doubt that Tim, Mark and the rest of the team will have continued success working with Bridgepoint.”

Tim Buchan, CEO at Zenith commented: “We thank HgCapital for their contribution and are pleased to welcome Bridgepoint as our new partner. We look forward to working together on our long-term strategy of continued investment in product and system developments.”

Emma Watford, partner at Bridgepoint and head of its business services sector team, said: “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.”

Deloitte locally has advised on all six transactions and on the latest £750m deal acted as co-financial advisor and lead debt advisor to HgCapital and to Zenith and also as lead advisor to the management team led by CEO Tim Buchan and CFO Mark Phillips.

Squire Patton Boggs in Leeds also provided legal advice to the management team. The Deloitte teams were led by Martin Jenkins and comprised of Oliver McRae and Anil Gupta. The Squires Team was led by Jonathan Jones and Jayne Aarons. Investec’s corporate finance team led by Dan Sheahan in Leeds advised on the deal.

Jenkins of Deloitte said: “I believe Zenith’s six successive MBO’s in fourteen years to be unique to the world of private equity with stellar returns being delivered for each of the previous five investors. In Bridgepoint Zenith has found the ideal partner to support the next stage of its journey at a time a great change and opportunity in the industry.”

 

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