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Cazoo snaps up SMH Fleet Solutions on continued acquisition trail

Online car retailer Cazoo has bought SMH Fleet Solutions for around £70m, continuing its spate of acquisitions in line with rapid expansion.

The acquisition will double Cazoo’s reconditioning, logistics & storage capabilities

The acquisition will double Cazoo’s reconditioning, logistics and storage capabilities, providing 11 reconditioning/storage sites over 265 acres – and the business said it creates significant opportunity to scale operations in line with its growth.

Established in 2003, SMH is one of the UK’s leading vehicle preparation, logistics and storage businesses. It has a team of over 500 staff processing more than 70,000 vehicle refurbishments annually from six vehicle preparation sites across Bedford, Gloucester, Throckmorton, Worcester and St Helens.

Once SMH is 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 – this will “materially de-risk its ability to meet its growth targets”.

Cazoo was founded in 2018 by serial entrepreneur Alex Chesterman and launched in the UK two years ago as the ‘Amazon of cars’ in the used car sector. It’s since sold more than 35,000 cars in the UK and branched into new car subscriptions with the acquisition of Drover in December 2020. It’s also gearing up to launch its proposition later this year in Europe following its acquisition of German subscription firm Cluno.

The new deal follows Cazoo’s listing on the NYSE last month and is the latest in a series of acquisitions that also include last week’s acquisition of automotive data insights platform Cazana for around £25m.

It also bought vehicle recon and storage specialist Smart Fleet Solutions in February 2021, further scaling its national reconditioning and storage capabilities.

Founder and CEO Alex Chesterman 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.”

Tim Hudson, CEO at SMH Fleet Solutions, said the deal was 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.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

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