AM Online

Bidder hopes ‘Lancaster will stay’

An investor involved in ongoing takeover talks with HR Owen has reportedly assured chief executive Nick Lancaster that he will stay at its helm.

After the stock exchange-listed dealer group announced to investors it was in talks with a potential bidder, a dealer source told AM that the approach involves an investor who wants to buy the group and retain Lancaster as chief executive.

Lancaster refused to confirm or deny this. However HR Owen has stated that the bid is from outside the company.

Sources believe it could be Balverona, a £285m turnover car wholesaler in Australia. Its subsidiaries, Ateco and European Automotive Imports, are Australia’s and New Zealand’s national distributors for Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Ferrari, Maserati and Citroën.

Balverona has recently built a 20.18% stake in HR Owen. It is headed by Neville Crichton, a New Zealander with global motor retail experience and a specialist in improving under-performing businesses.

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