Bluestone Group sells Irish motor finance operations to Close Brothers
Bluestone Investment Holdings Limited (Bluestone Group), the European financial services business headquartered in the UK, announced today that it has agreed terms for the sale of its Irish motor finance operations, Bluestone Motor Finance (Ireland) DAC (BMFI) to Close Brothers Limited. Under the terms of the transaction, Bluestone’s holding company will sell 100% of the shares of BMFI and its subsidiaries to Close Brothers in an all cash transaction.
BMFI was established as a lending platform in 2014, after a period of several years managing acquired portfolios of assets in the Republic of Ireland. After its launch, BMFI quickly became a leading player in the Irish motor finance market, consistently scoring strongly in terms of dealer satisfaction, service levels and its contemporary technology stack delivered by sister company, Fignum Ltd. Following completion of the transaction, which is expected in Q4, 2023, Close Brothers will be looking to expand their brand, expertise and product range to the Irish market.
Bluestone’s managing director and BMFI chairman, Peter McGuinness, said: “We are very pleased to have agreed terms for the sale of Bluestone Motor Finance to Close Brothers. Under their ownership, we are confident the business will continue to flourish, delivering strong outcomes to the increasing number of customers looking for efficient and flexible solutions to buy a car. Donal Murphy and his team have built a progressive, market leading business in Ireland, and I would like to wish them well in this exciting new chapter. Post completion, we look forward to building a new relationship with Close Brothers via our technology business, Fignum.
Adrian Sainsbury, group chief executive at Close Brothers said: “I am delighted to have agreed this transaction with Bluestone Group. Bluestone Motor Finance has delivered impressive growth and will complement our Motor Finance presence in the UK and Ireland, a strategic growth market for the group. We would like to welcome Donal and the team to Close Brothers and look forward to working together to further expand our presence in the Irish market.”
Donal Murphy, managing director at Bluestone Motor Finance said: “Since 2014, we have built a strong, award-winning motor finance business in Ireland. We’ve successfully developed our presence and relationships with Irish dealers, digital partners and brokers. Combining digital expertise with the personal touch has allowed us to pivot our approach as appropriate, enhance our offering and provide financial solutions to more drivers nationwide. Today we join a company with a deep history and experience in the Irish and UK motor finance industry, and we look forward to the opportunities ahead of us in the Irish market. We believe that Bluestone Motor Finance, ‘the motor finance people’, being acquired by Close Brothers will enable us to offer a wider product range to both car buyers and motor dealers.”
Mr McGuinness attributes some of Bluestone’s historical success to systems developed by its technology business, Fignum, headquartered in the technology hub based around the Cambridge train station. Fignum was established by Bluestone Group in 2019 to develop contemporary loan origination, servicing and receivables management solutions to the other group businesses, and external customers. Its origination products, BlueLink and BlueSky, have handled over €3b of loan applications, automating labour intensive processes and vastly improving loan origination efficiency. Its servicing product, Boss, supports a wide variety of secured and unsecured asset types, delivered from resilient cloud environments. And it has recently launched Paycada, a receivables management system which connects to cloud based accounting packages, and improves the efficiency of accounts receivable management.
Bluestone Group was advised by Deloitte, McCann Fitzgerald and Mishcon de Reya.