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SOLITARY CONFINEMENT FOR BENNETTS

Latest move in the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation of Ardonagh Group’s takeover of leading motorcycle insurance broker Bennetts is an enforcement order instructing Ardonagh to retain the Bennetts business as a stand-alone entity until its ongoing enquiries into the deal are completed. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

This imposition followed news that Ardonagh had finally completed the £26m purchase of Bennetts from Saga on 7 August, after the deal had been rubber-stamped by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The original acquisition agreement had been made in February. But the CMA didn’t get onto Ardonagh’s case until the beginning of July — expressing concerns that it may result in a “substantial lessening of competition” in the bike insurance market.

Ardonagh already owns Bennetts’ major competitor Carole Nash, acquired in 2017, as well as the Mackenzie Hodgson insurance brand fronted for marketing purposes by a pair of eponymous has-been bike racers. That is now operated by Carole Nash. It also owns Swinton Insurance, which has a substantial motorcycle broker presence.

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