Goldman Sachs in pole position for Hastings bid

GOLDMAN Sachs is discussions with British motor insurer Hastings about taking a stake in the company, it emerged yesterday.

Hastings declined to comment on the identity of its potential suitor but the company said it is in discussion with various organisations as it looks to raise funds for future expansion.

The company is currently privately owned following a management buyout and recently hired ex-Northern Rock boss Gary Hoffman as its chief executive with a brief to treble its customer base.

Goldman would be looking to invest around £150m through its GS Capital Partners private equity arm, according to Sky News.

It is also thought to have turned to the capital markets in a bid to raise a substantial sum from a bond issue.

The company said in a statement: “Hastings is currently in negotiations with private investors as part of the next phase of development of the company. This process is ongoing and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage.

“There is no certainty that a transaction will follow and the existing shareholders continue to keep all options open.”

Hastings, which was launched in 1997, is based close to the site of the eponymous battle in the Sussex town of Bexhill-on-Sea.

It has over 1,500 staff serving around 1m customers, mainly through the Hastings Direct brand.