NEW YORK — Financial services firm Perella Weinberg Partners announced this week that it will merge its two subprime auto finance sources, Flagship Credit Acceptance and CarFinance Capital, into a single, national automotive finance company. The combined company will have total assets in excess of $2 billion.
“Since forming Flagship and CarFinance, we have been pleased with the performance and strong execution of both companies,” said David Schiff, partner and portfolio manager for Perella Weinberg Partners’ asset management arm. “Together, the two companies will create a top-tier independent auto finance company with enhanced scale, lower cost of capital, superior cost controls and more efficient access to the capital markets.”
Parella, which launched Irvine, Calif.-based CarFinance Capital in May 2011 — about a year after it purchased Flagship — is one of several large investment firms who have entered the auto finance marketplace. Other notable firms include Blackstone Group, which acquired Exeter Finance in 2011, and Kohlberg, Kravis, Robert & Company and Centerbridge Partners, which are investors in Santander Consumer USA.
Since their inceptions, Flagship and CarFinance have each established well-recognized and accepted term asset-backed securitization programs that have obtained ratings from multiple nationally recognized rating agencies. Each has also entered into bank warehouse facilities from some of the most prominent financial institutions in the world.
The combined company will operate as an independent auto finance source with an enhanced national presence and wide geographic diversity. On a combined basis, the platforms currently originate approximately $1.2 billion of annual volume and employ approximately 600 employees. The combined company will be headquartered in Chadds Ford, Pa., and will have operational offices in Irvine, Calif., Phoenix and Irving, Texas. It will also serve more than 7,700 automotive dealers nationwide, as well as from an active direct auto lending division.
“Combining with CarFinance at this point in the companies’ growth cycles will create a leading automotive finance company with increased scale and greater flexibility,” said Flagship CEO Michael C. Ritter, who will become the CEO of the combined company. “Importantly, as a combined company, we will be able to better serve our dealer base through our existing brands and products and continue to provide essential financing to under-served consumers so that they can procure transportation to perform necessary daily needs. I look forward to working closely with my new partners at CarFinance and our sponsors at ABV to realize the full potential of the combined company.”
Perella did not offer details regarding CarFinance CEO Jim Landy, who launched the finance company with the firm’s backing three years ago. The executive also served as CEO of Triad Financial Corp. from 1989 until the company was purchased by an investor group in 2005. During his tenure at Triad, he started RoadLoans.com, a direct-to-consumer finance source Santander now owns and operates.
“On behalf of the board of directors of CarFinance, I would like to thank Jim for his valuable contributions in establishing CarFinance as a leading indirect and direct lender to the auto finance industry,” Perella’s Schiff said. “We partnered with two of the strongest and most accomplished management teams in the sector in Flagship and CarFinance, and we appreciate their efforts in creating two of the most successful players in the space. We look forward to working with Jim and Mike as we bring together these two complementary platforms.”