Santander floats US car finance arm as private investors sell up

Tim Wallace
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SANTANDER Consumer USA successfully floated yesterday as the parent banking group and a range of private equity firms sold stakes in the unit.

The initial public offering sold 21.6 per cent of the car finance unit in a deal valuing the whole business at $8.3bn (£5bn).

Banco Santander sold a four per cent stake and still holds 60.7 per cent of the equity.

The rest of the shares sold in the flotation came from Auto Finance Holdings Series, owned by private equity business Centrebridge Parters; Kohlberg Kravis Roberts; Warburg Pincus; and DFS Sponsor Investments.

The sale generated a capital gain of €740m (£609.4m) for the Spain-based banking group.

Santander bought 90 per cent of the finance unit, then called Drive Financial, from HBOS in 2006, paying $651m for the stake.

Santander re-named the unit Santander Consumer in 2008 and reduced its stake from 90 per cent to 65 per cent in 2011. That sale gave the bank a capital gain of $1bn.