Budget Financial Services has made a surprise swoop for specialist motorcycle intermediary Bennetts.
Budget paid an undisclosed sum for Dial Direct Insurance Marketing, the company that owns the Bennetts and Dial Direct brands.
Managing director and part owner of Dial Direct, Michael Bennett, said the company had not been actively seeking a purchaser, but there were synergies between the two companies.
"The proposition is that, by bringing the businesses together, they will mutually benefit from the products and panel facilities that both have previously enjoyed," he said.
Bennett said the well established Bennetts motorbike intermediary brand would definitely continue.
Details of the positioning of the Dial Direct brand had yet to be decided, he said, but it would continue to run alongside the Budget brand.
Budget group chief executive Peter Winslow said: "This is excellent news for Budget and gives us the critical mass we've been looking for in a market which is increasingly consolidating."
The deal had not been foreseen by the industry. Warren Dixon, marketing manager of bike specialist Carole Nash said the industry was surprised to hear of the deal. "We hadn't heard anything through the grapevine," he said.
But Dixon was glad the Bennetts brand would be continuing. "I'd rather have Bennetts as competition than some of the other cowboys in the market," he said.
The deal sees Budget gain more than 275,000 policies and nearly 700 staff based in Coventry, Redditch and Hillingdon. Bennett said no redundancies were planned, as both companies had been actively recruiting this year.