Daimler Financial Services (Daimler FS), the finance arm of manufacturer Mercedes Daimler, has agreed to purchase Athlon Car Lease International for €1.1bn (£0.9bn) from Dutch lessor DLL.

The future business of the consolidated fleet operations between Daimler Fleet Management and Athlon will operate under the Athlon brand.

The move brings the total number of passenger cars and vans under fleet management in Daimler’s portfolio to approximately 340,000.

Of this number, the majority (approximately 250,000) comes from the original Athlon brand, with the remainder coming from Daimler Fleer Management.

Bodo Uebber, board of management member of Daimler AG responsible for Finance and Controlling and Financial Services, said: "Fleet management is a growth market and this acquisition of a strongly positioned and innovative fleet management company is a key step for us in becoming a leading fleet management services provider. It also allows us to enhance fleets with Daimler’s products and mobility offer."

Bill Stephenson, chief executive officer and chairman of the Executive Board of DLL said: "We have found a shareholder in Daimler Financial Services that possesses the aspiration and drive to fuel Athlon’s future growth and success."

The purchase is still subject to regulatory approval from the relevant bodies, which Daimler said it expected in Q4 2016.

Although DLL witnessed strong growth in 2015, with net profits of €525m, media reports at the start of 2016 suggested its parent company Rabobank Group was gauging interest for a sale of the asset finance provider.