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Walden returns as Leasedrive acquisition nears confirmation

Date: 29 November 2013   |   Author:

The acquisition of the UK's number 15 leasing company Leasedrive is due to be confirmed next week, with private equity group Hg Capital set to take over the firm that operates around 20,000 vehicles in the UK.

Former Lex Vehicle Leasing boss Jon Walden will return to the leasing industry as Leasedrive's non-executive chairman, replacing Peter Opperman who will step down. Though the terms of the deal aren't disclosed, insiders dispute the £120m price that has been reported for the 52% stake that's being acquired from private equity firm Lloyds Development Capital. LDC acquired its stake for £80m in 2008.

The board of directors, including managing director David Bird and commercial director Roddy Graham are all set to stay on under the new ownership, which is likely to lead to further acquisitions once the Leasedrive deal is finalised.

"Hg are investing and we are thrilled about it, they are a very welcome investor," Graham told BusinessCar. "They want to build a powerhouse and go out and make acquisitions." The deal will be completed next week, "barring any major disasters," said Graham.

Leasedrive announced a deal with Mercedes-Benz earlier this year, where it would take on management of the German brand's fleet business. That deal followed the 2010 agreement to manage the vehicles previously on Masterlease contracts, on behalf of Investec, which also acts as funding provider for Leasedrive.

Rumours in the business media have also linked Hg with a move for fellow leasing and fleet management firm Zenith, ranked 13 in the industry, though a company insider described the link as "pure speculation".