AWARD-WINNING warranty provider The WMS Group is set to be bought out.
The company – which was named warranty provider of the year at the Car Dealer Power awards night last week – is poised for acquisition by the Lyon-based Opteven Group, subject to Financial Conduct Authority approval, which is expected to be granted in the next few weeks.
Opteven is the largest mechanical breakdown insurer in France and second largest in Europe, serving eight international markets. It already has an operational presence here, as it manages Volkswagen Financial Services UK’s Approved Used Warranty programme.
John Colinswood, managing director of The WMS Group, which has a network of more than 3,500 dealers using its products, said: ‘For our customers and staff, it is business as usual.
‘We are still as passionate about helping our dealer partners 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 to offer our customers so much more.
‘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.’
He will remain in his role and the company will continue to trade under the WMS Group brand but as a subsidiary of Opteven.
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 fifth year in succession! – we believe it was 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.’
Pictured are The WMS Group’s Ian Tallent, left, and Keron Hurlstone with the company’s trophy at Car Dealer Power 2019, with co-host and Car Dealer head of content Jack Evans