Lantern agrees to acquire vulnerable customer management company Sonex Financial
Lantern, the Leeds-based leading player in the speciality finance debt purchase market, has agreed terms to acquire Sonex Financial, as it continues to deepen and broaden its offer in the UK market.
Based in Llanelli, West Wales, Sonex is an award winning and longstanding operator with a particular specialism working with vulnerable customers. Its clients include several of the Big Six energy companies in the UK, to which Sonex provides vulnerable customer-focused engagement and management services.
The acquisition by Lantern deepens its existing specialism and strong reputation for working with vulnerable customers, while expanding its market footprint into the utilities sector in particular. Following investment from financial services investor Copper Street Capital and rebranding as Lantern in 2018, the business has grown significantly, adding clients in the retail and banking sectors.
In total, Lantern now manages c3.5 million accounts. The company’s modern, bespoke approach provides a single customer view for each customer, which helps create sustainable repayment plans across multiple debts over appropriate lengths of time, with single communications creating a unique and appropriate customer journey.
Following the acquisition, Sonex’s existing management team will remain in place, with Co-founder and Director Stefan Russell moving to the position of Managing Director and reporting into Lantern Group CEO, Denise Crossley.
Commenting on the acquisition of Sonex, Denise Crossley, Group CEO of Lantern said: “Today represents an exciting and logical next step in growing and deepening our business. We’ve long admired Sonex’s capabilities, particularly its track record working in the utilities sector. I’m excited to welcome Stefan and his team into the Lantern family and look forward to seeing the impact of their work on our continued growth.
“Our industry has long talked about vulnerable customers, but I’ve always believed it’s more appropriate to talk about customers in vulnerable circumstances, be that a window cleaner who breaks their leg and takes time off work, or a family which suddenly faces a change in income or health. At Lantern this view informs our entire approach, whether that’s the conversations we have with customers or the sustainable repayment plans we design to help them move out of those circumstances. I know Stefan shares a similar view and I’m excited to see how we develop our offer together.”
Stefan Russell, Managing Director of Sonex, added: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Sonex by the Lantern group. Both Denise and I have a shared vision on the treatment of Vulnerable Customers and the synergies between both companies meant Lantern and Sonex was an ideal partnership.
“This acquisition will support Sonex in meeting the demands of our existing clients as well as open avenues into new sectors. Similarly, I believe Sonex will bring significant energy sector experience to the Lantern portfolio.”
The acquisition of Sonex is subject to final approval by the Financial Conduct Authority.