SMH Fleet Solutions has been acquired by Cazoo

Arrowpoint Advisory and Rothschild & Co have advised on the sale of SMH Fleet Solutions, one of the UK’s leading vehicle preparation, logistics and storage businesses, to Cazoo, the UK’s leading online car retailer.

Established in 2003, SMH has a team of over 500 expert staff currently processing more than 70,000 vehicle refurbishments annually from 6 vehicle preparation sites across 136 acres in Bedford, Gloucester, Throckmorton, Worcester and St Helens. SMH also carries out over 150,000 vehicle movements per year with a team of over 300 logistics specialists as well as operating an online wholesale platform for used cars.

Cazoo is one of the fastest growing businesses in Europe, pioneering the shift to online car buying and selling and this acquisition follows its listing on the NYSE last month. Cazoo has already sold over 35,000 cars in the UK since its launch less than 2 years ago as consumers have embraced the selection, value, transparency and convenience of buying and selling used cars entirely online.

The combination of Cazoo’s world-class online retail platform and brand with SMH’s leading infrastructure and expertise will double Cazoo’s overall vehicle reconditioning, logistics and storage capabilities in the UK with 11 total sites across more than 265 acres, as well as providing it with an experienced team of hundreds of additional vehicle preparation and logistics specialists and its own digital wholesale platform.

This deal will provide Cazoo with one of the most extensive portfolios of vehicle preparation sites and production capabilities in the UK to meet its rapid growth plans. Once fully integrated, Cazoo will have the capacity to recondition and deliver hundreds of thousands of cars per year and store tens of thousands of cars, helping to secure its future requirements and materially de-risk its ability to meet its growth targets.

Cazoo has acquired SMH for approximately £70m in cash from LDC and other minority shareholders.

Tim Hudson, CEO of SMH Fleet Solutions commented: “We’re delighted to be joining forces with Alex and the team at Cazoo and see this as a perfect fit for SMH. We have built one of the leading teams in vehicle preparation and logistics in the UK and are very well placed to support the remarkable pace of growth at Cazoo and help it deliver on its mission of providing the best car buying and selling experience in the UK.”

Alex Chesterman OBE, Founder & CEO of Cazoo said: “Given strong consumer demand, the only real constraint to our future growth is ensuring that we have adequate capability to recondition, store and deliver enough cars to keep up. By acquiring SMH, this helps solve that and de-risks our future growth by immediately doubling our number of vehicle preparation sites and significantly enhancing our team of vehicle preparation and logistics staff. I look forward to welcoming the SMH team to Cazoo.”

Barry Sheehan, Director at Arrowpoint Advisory added: “The acquisition of SMH will provide Cazoo with the logistics and operational infrastructure to continue its rapid growth. The integration of eCommerce with supply chain is an area we have focused on for many years and is fast becoming a key driver of M&A. We’re delighted to have advised on another deal where this has been the central theme.”

Graham Carberry, Managing Director at Arrowpoint Advisory concluded: “This is an important transaction in the reshaping of the UK automotive retail and distribution space and the value reflects the incredible work of the management team and their partners at LDC, during an extraordinary period of change for the entire automotive industry.”

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