A FAMILY-owned company which operates a fleet of more than 18,500 commercial vehicles has been sold to the American-owned giant Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car UK acquired the award-winning SHB Hire in what has been described as one of the biggest local transactions in recent times.

SHB Hire was set up by the Street family in Romsey 50 years ago. Founded with a few vehicles, it became one of the south’s most successful owner-managed businesses, with a nationwide network.

Its founder and chairman, Mike Street, said: “We needed to find the right partner to acquire the SHB Hire business. Enterprise and SHB Hire employees share a commitment to delivering the best customer care.

“The fact that we are both family-owned and run has enabled us to take a long-term view. The acquisition secures the future of the business and will provide customers with a greater diversity of product lines, as well as access to industry leading technologies and infrastructure.”

Jonathon Roy, corporate partner at Southampton law firm Paris Smith, who led the deal team on the seller side of transaction said: “The team at Paris Smith were delighted to assist the Street family in the sale of SHB Hire. This was one of the biggest recent transactions in the local region and is a tribute to the remarkable success of a family owned business that in 2018 celebrated its 50th anniversary.”

He added: “From a legal perspective, the deal was complex involving a pre-completion reorganisation, an auction process and several regulatory approvals. It was conducted in a co-operative and positive manner by all parties and their advisers, resulting in an extremely satisfying outcome for all concerned.”

SHB Hire’s fleet ranges from cars, light commercial vehicles and heavy goods vehicles to golf buggies and all terrain vehicles.

It has the biggest 4x4 rental fleet in Europe, as well as the biggest hire fleet of HGV tippers and crane lorries in the UK.

It operates from 16 locations, each of which has a workshop, and six of which have bodyshops and fabrication facilities.

It bought the business GolfBuggyHire, giving it a fleet of more than 1,500 buggies and all terrain vehicles.

Paris Smith’s team included James McNeil, Michael Moore, Arezou Rezai, Jo Spittles, Rachel Montgomery and Claire Merritt.

Other firms that worked on the seller side of the deal included PWC London, which provided corporate finance advice and financial due diligence; EY London which provided tax advice; Blackadders which provided Scottish real estate advice, and Euclid Law, which provided specialist competition law advice.

The Enterprise deal team was advised by Laurie McFadden, Alexandros Pantelakis, and Nicola Wilson from Freshfields Bruckhaus and Deringer LLP, supported by Dutton Gregory on English real estate matters and Brodies on Scottish real estate.