The WMS Group is acquired by Europe’s largest MBI and breakdown provider, Opteven Group.
WMS Group (UK) Limited is delighted to announce that the whole business will be acquired by Opteven Group, subject to receiving formal approval from The Financial Conduct Authority, which is expected to be received within the coming weeks.
Opteven, based in Lyon, France, is the largest Mechanical Breakdown Insurer (MBI) in France and the second largest in Europe. Through its offices in France (Lyon), UK (Warrington), Italy (Milan), Spain (Madrid) and Germany (Berlin), it serves 8 International markets (France, UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Poland and Czech Republic).
Opteven already has an established operational presence in UK as it manages the Approved Used Warranty programme on behalf of Volkswagen Financial Services UK. Strategically, Opteven has ambitions to grow their presence throughout Europe, with the UK market being a natural fit for them to expand into. This is where the WMS Group fits in. As one of the UK’s most highly respected and leading providers of business-to-business car warranties, with an established network of over 3,500 dealers using their products, the WMS Group ‘ticked all the boxes’ required to become part of the Opteven family.
John Colinswood, Managing Director of the WMS Group, states;
“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”.
John continues to say;
“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”.
John will remain in his role as Managing Director and the company will continue to trade under the WMS Group brand but as a subsidiary of Opteven.
Martin Quail, Opteven’s CEO for Northern Europe explains;
“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.”
This is the culmination of a very busy couple of weeks for the WMS Group, who have also just launched its new Online Dealer Showroom solution across its network of dealers. As well as the announcement of the continued partnership between the former ´Top Gear Stig´ and Hollywood stunt driver, Ben Collins, as Brand Ambassador for Safe and Sound, the WMS Group´s flagship used car warranty scheme, a partnership which is now in its third year.
About Opteven Group
Opteven (www.opteven.com) is an independent International business with its global headquarters based in Lyon, France. It acts as both a ’services business´ and an ´insurer’. Established in 1985, Opteven has grown to become a leading provider of vehicle warranty and associated products across Europe and employs approx. 600 people. In addition, Opteven is a leading provider of roadside assistance services to businesses in France with a roadside assistance network spanning 60 countries and territories, including all of Europe, parts of North Africa and parts of the Middle East. The business is also a strategic partner to many well-known UK roadside assistance companies, providing support to UK drivers if their vehicle breaks down anywhere in Europe. Opteven delivers a range of automotive products and services to car dealerships (franchised and independents), insurance companies, vehicle manufacturers, leasing companies and banks. Opteven is focused on ensuring quality is embedded throughout its business, accordingly it is regarded as an ´exemplary company´ by AFNOR, the independent French organisation that oversees the ISO 26000 certification process. Opteven is backed by Ardian, a Paris based independent private equity investment company. Ardian is one of Europe´s largest private equity funds, managing assets worth US $96 billion throughout Europe, North America and Asia.