This is the third private equity fund to take over HSS in the past 10 years.
In 2003, 3i backed a management buy-in before selling up in 2007 for £310m at the top of the market to US asset management funds Och-Ziff and Perry Capital, in partnership with Archie Norman, the former boss of Asda supermarkets and former Conservative MP.
HSS has now been acquired by London investment firm Exponent Private Equity for an undisclosed price. Several Exponent directors, including its founders, previously worked for 3i.
HSS Hire has a network of 230 distribution centres and branches in the UK and Ireland. The company said that it has posted consistent growth during the last four years, with sales of £180.3m last year, up 5% from the previous year, and profits of £39.9m. The group reports further growth in 2012.
HSS chief executive officer Chris Davies said: “HSS is enjoying great success and the company continues to go from strength to strength. This transaction and future support from Exponent will help us unlock fresh capital needed to realise the next phase of our growth plan. Having traded successfully and expanded consistently during the last four years, this deal puts HSS in a strong financial position”.
Exponent director Oliver Bower said: “We believe there is enormous potential for the business to grow further and look forward to supporting the management team during what promises to be an exciting time for the business.”