WMS Group is set to be wholly acquired by Europe’s second-largest Mechanical Breakdown Insurer (MBI) subject to formal approval of the deal from The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Opteven, based in Lyon, France, currently operates in eight international markets via its offices in Warrington, Milan, Madrid and Berlin and already has an established operational presence in UK as it manages an Approved Used Warranty programme on behalf of Volkswagen Financial Services UK.
Opteven said that it has ambitions to grow its presence throughout Europe, however, and described the UK market as being “a natural fit for them to expand into”.
As a leading provider of business-to-business car warranties in the UK WMS Group currently has an established network of over 3,500 dealers using its products and “ticked all the boxes required to become part of the Opteven family”, according to a statement issued by its leadership team this week.
John Colinswood, managing director of the WMS Group, said: “For our customers and staff it is business as usual. We are still as passionate about helping our dealer partners to provide the very best warranty products and aftersales support to their customers and with our acquisition by Opteven, this means that we will now be able offer our customers so much more going forward.
“With any acquisition, there will be some changes, but I can honestly say these are for the benefit of all our dealers. The company is going through a period of growth with more staff employed in our head office in Thame to meet the ever-increasing demands of our growing customer base”.
Colinswood will remain in his role as managing director following the completion of the acquisition by Opteven Group, which is expected to be completed within the coming weeks.
The company will continue to trade under the WMS Group brand but as a subsidiary of Opteven.
WMS launched its WMS Rescue & Recovery flagship recovery product early last year and made a series of appointments to back-up its "exciting" growth plans.
Martin Quail, Opteven’s chief executive for Northern Europe said: “Opteven Group is very serious about developing its business in key markets across Europe.
“We will do this both organically and by acquisitions, but with a resolute focus on doing so by constantly delivering the very best, high quality service.
“The UK automotive sector is a key strategic market that Opteven wanted to have a far deeper involvement in.
“Accordingly, we looked for a business that was not only market leading, but (most importantly) placed great service and authentic customer relationships at the core of their business.
“As the UK dealer network have voted WMS Group the ´Warranty Provider of The Year´ in the 2019 Car Dealer Power Awards (for the 5th year in succession) we believe WMS Group were the perfect fit.
“We were incredibly impressed with the business and the whole WMS Team and are really looking forward to working with our new colleagues to develop and grow this great business.”