...as it sells a £185m stake in Esure to Peter Wood

Lloyds Banking Group is selling off its majority stake in online insurer Esure as part of its plans to scale back its non-core operations.

New company Esure Group Holdings, run by veteran insurance entrepreneur Peter Wood, is paying £185m for the 70 per cent stake – “slightly more” than its book value.

The management buyout is being backed by private equity vehicle Tosca Penta Investments. This is managed by Penta Capital and is in part backed by hedge fund Toscafund, which in turn is chaired by former Royal Bank of Scotland boss George Mathewson.

Esure, which includes the Sheilas’ Wheels brand, was founded in 2000 as a joint venture by Peter Wood and the Halifax. It now offers home, motor, travel and pet insurance, mainly through the internet.

Wood said: “This move creates a clean base for both companies to move forward pursuing their own insurance strengths unfettered.”