IRVING, TexasExeter Finance Corp. has been acquired by Blackstone from Navigation Capital Partners (NCP), which originally purchased the company in 2008. The specialty auto finance company also announced that it has secured a $600 million line of credit that will fuel its expansion plans.

Blackstone officials said the investment and advisory firms will invest up to $277 million in the transaction. Exeter’s management team and NCP will retain a minority interest in Exeter, according to the company.

“Having Blackstone as a financial partner is a huge vote of confidence in Exeter’s business model and long term strategic vision,” said Mark Floyd, CEO of Exeter. "Blackstone is providing a significant opportunity for Exeter to continue building on our successful platform nationwide and play a leading role in the auto finance space.”

The new line of credit the company secured is an increase from the $150 million credit facility Wells Fargo provided in November. The credit facility is being led by Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank A. G. New York Branch, Citibank, N.A. and Credit Suisse. Company official said the credit line will help grow Exeter’s loan profitability and fuel its expansion of its branch network.

“Exeter has a tremendous franchise and differentiates itself in the industry with its service excellence and professionalism,” said Martin Brand, a managing director of Blackstone. “We’re looking forward to working with Exeter’s outstanding management team as we grow the company.”

Exeter currently operates in 28 states through 24 branch offices. The company plans to continue to add branches in key markets across the U.S., according to the company.

“Exeter’s business platform, credit discipline and talented staff have enabled the company to not only survive during a difficult financial environment, but also grow substantially since the company’s inception in 2006,” said Larry Mock, board director of Exeter and managing partner of NCP.