A division of drains specialist Lanes Group today changed hands as private equity outfit Gresham invested £12.3m in the business for a majority stake.
Gresham has taken a 70 per cent stake in Lanes Assistance Services, which has its headquarters in Eccles.
The management team at LAS, which turns over £20m and employs almost 80 staff, has a 30 per cent shareholding.
LAS provides outsourced claims management and domestic repair services for the insurance industry, with clients including Fortis and Towergate.
It employs 45 people at its call centre in Eccles and more than 30 at offices in Birmingham. LAS was established four years ago as a division of Lanes Group and is led by managing director Darren Cooper and commercial director Tim Walker.
Lawyers acting for Lanes Group were Roger Hinchliffe and Russell Bateman of Pearson Hinchliffe, based in Oldham.
Gresham has a strong track record in the sector, having previously invested in insurance broker Giles and Greater Manchester drainage claims management business Ansa.
Manchester-based partner Andy Marsh, who led the deal for Gresham, said: “We have been looking to invest again in this market for some time now. The key for us has been to identify a market-leading business that delivers real and quantifiable cost savings for its insurer customers. We are delighted to be backing the management of LAS and their growth plans.”
Gresham is providing development capital to fund expansion for LAS as part of the deal, with new service lines, additional staff and technology in the pipeline as well as potential acquisitions.
Mr Cooper said: “Partnering with Gresham means we are well-placed to maximise the opportunities in the market.
“The investment will ensure that the high level of customer service that LAS provides is maintained as volumes increase, and that future growth is managed in a controlled manner.”
Gresham specialises in mid-market deals valued at up to £100m and its current investments include Lancashire shoe firm Hotter and James Grant Group, which comprises five businesses which were previously part of Hale-based Formation Group.
Advisers who worked on the LAS buyout included lawyers DLA Piper and Cobbetts, and experts at Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers and insurance firms Doodson and Aon.
Teams from Dow Schofield Watts corporate finance and transaction services assisted Gresham.