Who?
Private equity firm Gresham.

Did what?
Has taken a 70 per cent stake in Eccles-based outsourced claims management and domestic repair services company Lanes Assistance Services (LAS).

What does this mean?
The remaining 30 per cent is owned by the management team, including managing director Darren Cooper and commercial director Tim Walker. Gresham acquired its stake from the Leeds-based Lanes Group for £12.3m. LAS has offices in Manchester and Birmingham and handles household claims on behalf of insurance companies.

Cooper said: “Partnering with Gresham will ensure that we are well placed to maximise the wealth of opportunity which exists in the market. The investment will ensure that the high level of customer service LAS provides is maintained as volumes increase and that future growth is managed in a controlled manner. It’s a very exciting time for us.”

LAS employs approximately 60 staff.

Who advised?
DLA Piper, Dow Schofield Watts, Cobbetts, Pearson Hinchliffe, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Diligencia, Intuitus, Doodson, Aon and WPA.

Insider comment:
Gresham has been looking to invest in this market for some time now. In 2008, it exited insurance broker Giles and exited from claims management business Ansa in 2005. Gresham partner Andy Marsh, who led the deal with Iain Wolstenholme and Simon Hemley, said with LAS it has found “a market-leading business that delivers real and quantifiable cost savings for its insurer customers”.

He told Insider: “We know the market very well and we think we know what the client base wants – that is to reduce the amount of money they are spending in the claims environment. The business model of LAS and the culture of the company reflects that. We’ve underwritten all the debt on this deal and we’re now looking to invest for the future. We want to increase the operational infrastructure, including taking on more employees to handle the volume of work coming through.”

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