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Constellation Automotive Holdings, owner of WeBuyAnyCar and Child’s Play, has taken a 20 per cent stake in car dealership Lookers, just weeks after agreeing to a takeover from rival Marshall Motors.

The company, which owns the UK car auction market, has been setting up parts of its car offering, opening cinch used car buying service during the pandemic.

Marshalls and Lookers are two of the UK’s largest traditional car retailers. Constellation was to control at the time it would become the largest car dealership owner in the UK.

Most of Lookers’ 78m shares, representing 19.9 per cent of the capital, were bought at 102p a share from Tony Bramall, who stepped down as a non-executive director last month after a 14-year stint at the British car dealership.

Constellation notified Lookers of its investment, Lookers said Monday, and indicated its support for the group’s “recently outlined strategy and senior management,” according to the statement Monday.

“We are delighted to welcome Constellation as a significant shareholder in the group,” said Ian Bull, Chairman Lookers. “Their investment agrees with the board’s view that the group remains significantly undervalued. As indicated in our recent announcement, the commercial performance is solid, with an excellent bank of new car orders and the group has a clear strategic framework.

Shares of Lookers rose 1.5% in early trading Monday to 89.9p. They have more than doubled in the last 12 months.

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