In a deal worth “slightly in excess” of £185m, Wood has bought Lloyds’ 70 per cent stake in esure, which he founded in 2000 as a joint venture with the then Halifax.
Wood, who was chairman and chief executive of esure, already controlled the remaining 30 per cent stake in the company, which also operates the women-only Sheila’s Wheels brand.
Tosca Penta Investments, a private equity vehicle managed by Penta Capital, backed the buy-out. It is understood that esure staff will keep their jobs.
Wood, who set up insurance company Direct Line in 1985, says he has been exploring the deal for almost a year.
“I’m delighted that we have managed to reach a mutually beneficial agreement to buy-out Lloyds’ majority shareholding,” says Wood. “When I set up esure with Halifax as joint venture partner in 2000, no-one could have foreseen the events that would lead to Lloyds Banking Group – who already offer car and home insurance successfully – taking on that role.”
Under the terms of Wood’s original deal, he held first refusal over the business, so he was the only bidder for the 70 per cent stake.
“This move creates a clean base for both companies to move forward pursuing their own insurance strengths unfettered. The agreement marks the start of a long period of hard work for everyone at esure, but we will relish this challenge,” he adds.
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