Auto retailer Marshall Motor Holdings has confirmed that its largest shareholder, Marshall of Cambridge, is considering selling its 64.4% stake in the listed motor retailer after a strategic review of its own business.

It has received a request from Constellation Automotive Group, owner of BCA, online auto retailer Cinch and WeBuyAnyCar, that Constellation be given an opportunity to bid if Marshall of Cambridge does decide to dispose of the business.

In a statement issued to the London Stock Exchange, Marshall Motor Holdings confirmed the reports after it was notified of speculation by The Takeover Panel, saying: “The company has not taken any action to contact any potential offerors, but it has received a request from Constellation Automotive Group that should a sale process be commenced, it be given the opportunity to participate.

“There can be no certainty that any formal offer for MMH will be forthcoming, nor as to the terms of any such formal offer.”

Constellation Automotive Group now has 28 days, until December 24, to either announce it intends to bid for the auto dealer group or confirm that it does not intend to do so. Marshall’s statement added that a further announcement will be made as and when appropriate. That deadline can be extended with the agreement of the Takeover Panel, an independent body that issues and administers the City’s code on takeovers and mergers and supervises and regulates takeovers.

Constellation acquired CarNext in October, making it Europe’s largest used-car marketplace. In September the group denied reports in the U.K. press that it was to launch a bid for listed car supermarket group Motorpoint, which this week announced a 56% increase in revenue and a 30% increase in EBITDA for the six months trading to September 2021.

Marshall Motor Holdings chief executive Daksh Gupta joined the group in 2008 and successfully led the company as it grew from a regional dealer group to a larger national group that floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2015. The original Marshall family that owned the company retained nearly two-thirds (64.4%) of the shares.

The company weathered the impact of Covid-19 on the business and was able to repay £4 million ($5.3 million U.S.) of U.K. government furlough support and give its 4,000 employees a one-off cash bonus equivalent to 1% of their salary and a backdated pay review after outperforming the market in 2020.

In 2020, the company saw revenue fall slightly from £2.27 billion in 2019 to £2.15 billion while profit before tax grew slightly from £19.6 million to £20.4 million in 2020. The company expects to make £50 million in 2021.


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