Investor group TDR Capital, the owner of Constellation Automotive, has taken a 3.1% stake in Vertu Motors.
The move will be watched with interest. While the stake is small and gives Constellation no sway over the running of Vertu, it could be the start of another round of activity in listed dealer stock.
In 2021 Constellation approached Marshall Motors’ largest shareholder Marshall of Cambridge, with a 400p per share bid for the group. The deal got the go-ahead from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in May 2022.
In January last year it bought 78 million Looker shares, representing approximately 19.9% of the issued ordinary share capital of the company.
Constellation already owns car wholesale BCA Auctions, car buying operator webuyanycar, the online used car platform cinch and dealer group Marshall.
The Constellation gambit comes at a time of intense interest in plc groups.
In 2022 European group Hedin Mobility abled a bid for Pendragon but after due diligence walked away, citing economic conditions. It still has a major stake in the UK dealer group.
Lythia, a listed US dealer group had earlier made a bid for Pendragon in a deal that was blocked by Hedin.
In the meantime Hedin has pounced on four factory-owned Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the UK.