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Athlon acquisition means Daimler Fleet Management rebrand

Date: 05 July 2016   |   Author:

Mercedes-Benz's parent company Daimler has stepped up its vehicle leasing operation with the acquisition of vehicle leasing firm Athlon from Dutch finance group Rabobank in a ?1.1bn (£919m) deal that will lead to a rebranding of the company's UK leasing arm to take the Athlon name.

Athlon has a fleet of 250,000 vehicles across 11 European countries including France, Germany, Italy and Spain, and though that number doesn't include the UK, it does have a strategic partnership with Lex Autolease. It's not yet clear what future awaits once the acquisition is completed, but Daimler has confirmed that its Daimler Fleet Management currently has just over 44,000 vehicles on its books in the UK, ranking it just outside the top 10 biggest leasing firms.

A Daimler spokesman said the rebrand is part of the "long-term strategy". "We plan to provide financial services under Athlon, it will take some time to sort out when to switch after we have closed [the deal]," he told BusinessCar. "It won't be immediate, we don't know whether it will take one year or longer."

The deal will take Daimler Financial Services' European fleet management portfolio of cars and vans to around 340,000 vehicles form its current 85,000 level.

"Fleet management is a growth market and this acquisition of a strongly positioned and innovative fleet management company is a key step for us in becoming a leading fleet management services provider," said Bodo Uebber, board of management member of Daimler AG responsible for finance and controlling and financial services. "It also allows us to enhance fleets with Daimler's products and mobility offers."

The deal is due to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approval.