Millionaire Cumbrian businessman Andrew Tinkler has wished Eddie Stobart’s new owners well after losing the battle for control of the iconic haulier.

A philosophical Mr Tinkler was forced to admit defeat after Eddie Stobart shareholders voted by 80 per cent to back a proposal from long-term investor DBAY Advisors at a crunch meeting on Friday.

It will now pump £55 million into the business in the form of a high-interest loan, while its lenders will chip in a further £20m to fuel the turnaround of the Cumbrian company, which had been teetering on the brink.

Tinkler’s long-time friend William Stobart, the fourth child of the firm’s founder, become executive chairman.

Mr Tinkler – the firm’s chief executive until 2014 – had tabled an £80m rival bid, which would have reinstated him as the boss. 

He said his plan relied less or borrowing and would save the firm – probably the world’s best-known haulier – from collapse. 

Mr Tinkler, 56, insisted he was the right man to revive the haulier’s fortunes. 

The entrepreneur told in-Cumbria: “They’ll have to work hard to make it work and I wish them well

“I hope they are able to get it back to where it was when I left.”

He vehemently rejected suggestions that his rescue bid may struggle to command the financial backing it promised, which included £10m of his own cash, and the rest coming from institutional and other investors.

Mr Tinkler said: “I can say 100 per cent that there would have been £80m of investment. 

“But I will always be there if they want my help. 

“At the end of the day, William and I are still friends, but business is business. If they need me, they can call on me. It wasn’t a competition. The main thing is that the business has now got finance. It needs to move forward for the sake of its 6,500 jobs.”

In a formal statement, the businessman added: “The Eddie Stobart business has been a great source of personal pride for me ever since I was first employed to wash and maintain the trucks in the early 1980s through to being chief executive from 2004 to 2014. 

“I hope the company can return to its former glory and the board continue to work in the interests of all stakeholders to help this iconic business thrive again.”

DBAY, along with the Eddie Stobart board, is now aiming to complete the transaction “as soon as possible”.

The investment from DBAY and Eddie Stobart’s lenders – already owed £200m – will keep the company on the road over the festive period and be used to pay off some of its huge debt.

The company was founded by Eddie Stobart in the 1940s. Now headquartered in Warrington, it has a depot in Lillyhall, West Cumbria.