LDF has been acquired from Cabot Square by the parent company of US asset-based lender White Oak for an undisclosed amount.

The acquisition will mean an expansion into the UK and Europe for the American business.

Managing director Peter Alderson will continue to lead the business and White Oak said that it would focus on scaling up the company with a focus on European business.

“Europe represents a large opportunity for White Oak, and we are excited to grow our presence and activity in the region by welcoming LDF into the White Oak family,” said White Oak chief executive, Andre Hakkak.

Alternative lender and broker LDF provided £511m of financing to SMEs in the 2017 calendar year, an increase of 34% on 2016 figures, and the first time they have broken the half billion barrier in a year, the business told Leasing Life in January this year.

Of the £511m provided, 58% was business loan and 42% asset finance. £300m was funded on LDF’s own book, while the remainder was brokered out via its panel of external lending partners.

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Hakkak said: “LDF has been on an incredible growth trajectory, completing over £500 million of financing to small businesses across the U.K. in 2017 alone, and we are confident that the business will continue to grow with the backing of White Oak.”

White Oak said that LDF has over 22,000 active loans with over 10,000 direct clients in the U.K. SME market, and said the LDF sales force and market positioning made it an attractive acquisition to gain a market presence in the SME lending sector.

“LDF will continue to provide the same level of support and service to its clients under the same model, now backed by more resources to deliver more financing, products and opportunities to entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the U.K.,” said Alderson. “It also gives us the opportunity to look to the wider European market to develop our reach and presence. We are delighted to have found in White Oak a partner that shares our values and our keen focus on client success.”

“This is the first step to expand the White Oak platform in the U.K.  I am excited to welcome such accomplished professionals in LDF to White Oak and expand our business across Europe,” said White Oak Head of Europe, Tom Otte.  “As economies continue to grow, there is an increasing need for the types of financing we provide to help smaller companies achieve their next evolution of growth.”

“Peter and the LDF team have done a tremendous job building the business to the size, scale and capability that it is today, and it has been a pleasure working with them over the last 5 years. We look forward to seeing the business continue to go from strength to strength under White Oak’s leadership,” said Richard McDougall, Partner at Cabot Square Capital LLP.  The transaction is subject to regulatory approval from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and is expected to complete within the next few months.