The firms now have equal 45% stakes in Oakwood. The move by Merrill Lynch cements its mortgage interests in the UK after it acquired Mortgages PLC in 2004 and Freedom Lending last July. The US investor also partially funds edeus, of which Oakwood is the parent company.
CIR invests in a number of firms across Europe, the Americas and Asia, with the industries involved ranging from media to health care.
Mike Culhane, chairman and chief executive of Oakwood, says: “This move will see subtle changes to Oakwood’s business rather than big moves. We now have more capital behind us, allowing us to become more proactive in the mortgage market.
“Merrill Lynch is a pioneer and CIR naturally pulls us towards the Continent, meaning we can get into European markets. We can look at edeus and the rest of our interests more broadly and assess where we can take those businesses.”
As to whether there could be an overlap between MPLC and edeus, he adds: “We may see MPLC coming up into edeus’ prime and near prime space a little more, rather than edeus going into MPLC’s sub-prime area.”