Private equity companies have acquired and will merge two family-owned, UK rental companies Fork Rent and One Call Hire, with former Speedy Hire CEO Steve Corcoran understood to be leading the management team.

The combined business will have revenues of around £70 million (€100 million), making it one of the top 15 equipment rental companies in the UK.

Fork Rent is an Ipswich-based telehandler rental company that was owned by the Nicholls family – Guy and Trudi Nicholls managed the business – while London-based One Call Hire, previously owned by the Fitzpatrick family, is a general rental company with a focus on excavators.

The two private equity buyers are Searchlight Capital Partners – which has offices in London, New York and Toronto – and London-based Duke Street.

Fork Rent director Guy Nicholls tweeted the news: “I wish the new owners the best of success for the future”. A joint statement from Fork Rent and One Call referred to “a new era of growth and opportunity for everyone involved”.

According to the Ipswich Star, former Speedy Hire chief executive Steve Corcoran, who left the company in January 2014 after problems with its Middle East division, has been appointed to head up both companies.

Searchlight founding partner Oliver Haarmann said: “We have been deeply impressed by the leading market positions achieved by Fork Rent and One Call under the leadership of their founders.

“Together, the companies can leverage their increased scale and strong reputation for providing best-in-class customer service to create a leading equipment rental company in the UK across multiple end-markets and equipment types.”

Stuart McMinnies, partner of Duke Street, added: “We are delighted to be combining two of the highest quality service providers in the fragmented UK hire market.”

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