2020 has left an indelible footprint on North West businesses. COVID-19 has not discriminated against one sector over another; companies from across a breadth of industries have faced exceptional challenges and, in many cases, shown sheer grit and determination to navigate through national and local lockdowns that have affected the region since March.

 

But, despite the undeniable pressures being placed on the region’s businesses, there are segments of the market that are prime for growth – entrepreneurial companies that are seizing opportunities, or realising that in times of adversity now is the time not to contract, or stand still, but to grow.

 

The investment market could not be better placed to welcome those businesses into the fold. According to the BVCA’s annual Report on Investment Activity, UK private equity and venture capital investment reached £22.33 billion in 2019, an increase of £1.6 billion on the previous year. A total of 1,530 companies received backing in 2019, an increase of 15% on the 2018 figures, with the North West taking a 9.6% share. Stand out PE deals in 2020 we have acted on include acting for YFM on its £5.6m VCT investment into lead generation platform Unbiased, acting for Maven on its £2m VCT investment into web and email archiving business Mirrorweb and acting for Northedge on its disposal of East Coast Concepts.

 

The appetite from investors is clearly there for those business owners looking to de-risk, execute ambitious growth strategies, capitalise on consolidation opportunities, or implement a succession plan ahead of expected tax rises next year. So, if there’s plenty of cash to support buyouts for those looking to exit, and development capital deals for entrepreneurs looking to grow their business, what do businesses need to consider when choosing private equity?

 

Timing –  is your company ready for expansion? Is there a suitable amount of depth and breadth for the senior management team to accelerate growth? Understanding when you have achieved sufficient scale and trading is key.

 

Business case – positioning yourself in the strongest light is essential to attract potential private equity investment. Make it clear what makes you stand out from the crowd; highlight your USPs; and ensure you have the data and management information to back up your claims.

 

Cultural fit and strategic aims – the most successful private equity investments are based on strong relationships. Finding the right partner can often hinge on achieving a cultural fit and the team understanding your strategic aims. Trust is essential in creating a sustainable and fruitful partnership.

 

Insight and market experience – a successful relationship will provide your business with wider support from investors and non-executive directors, the benefits of shared experiences and market insight, as well as tapping into portfolio contacts.

 

The North West market is awash with innovative businesses looking to achieve growth, even in the context of 2020, whether that’s by gaining market share, launching new products, or through consolidation. If you’re an ambitious business ready to take the next step on your growth journey and you would like to understand why now might be the right time to engage with private equity investors, join our event – in partnership with YFM Private Equity and accountants, Hurst – on 12 November 2020. For more information, visit https://www.hurst.co.uk/events/ma-update-private-equity-solution-right-you#event-webform

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One of the UK’s leading providers of specialist education and therapeutic care, Amberleigh Care, has been bought by its management team, advised by the corporate team at Pannone Corporate.
Amberleigh Care provides services for young males between the ages of 11 and 18 years old at residential centres located in Welshpool and Telford.
Amberleigh Care is a member of The Consortium for Therapeutic Communities and the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ quality improvement network for therapeutic communities. It is a preferred provider across Wales and it is on several regional frameworks across England.
Managing Director Kevin Gallagher and who led the management buy-out team, said, “We are very excited to have this opportunity to take the service forwards and to build on the very solid foundations which have evolved over the twelve years of operation.
In the last two years, we have built the management team and operating systems to position the service as a centre of excellence in this highly specialist area of practice”.
Mark Winthorpe and Katie Ward of Pannone Corporate provided legal advice to the management team.
Mark said: “The deal provides an excellent platform for the management team at Amberleigh Care to further enhance the company’s services and cement its reputation for providing excellent care and education services in this specialist niche area. We wish them all the very best for the future.”

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The corporate team at Pannone Corporate advised the management team at a Greater Manchester biscuit maker which bought out the business in a private equity backed deal.
Hill Biscuits, which is based in Ashton-under-Lyne, can trace its roots back to 1855 when John and Sarah Hill opened a grocery shop at Dukenfield in Tameside.
The business now produces more than 30 million biscuits each week for the retail and foodservice markets. Key products include digestives, ginger nuts, custard creams, bourbons, malted milks and gingerbread men.
The management team, which was led by managing director Steven Wetherby and backed by mid-market private equity house LDC, plans to expand production capacity and grow the business through acquisition.
The deal provides an exit for the Bennett family, which originally bought the business out of Rowntree in 1980.
Mr Wetherby said: “Partnering with LDC will enable us to drive significant investment into the business for the benefit of our customers, adding greater production capacity and innovative new ranges, whilst staying focused on our core offering of quality, value for money products.”
Mark Winthorpe, corporate partner at Pannone Corporate who led the team which included Arshnoor Amershi, said: “The buyout will enable Hill Biscuits to expand its production capacity to meet demand from existing and new customers both in the UK and overseas
“The company has an exciting future and we wish the team every success for the future.”

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The corporate team at Pannone Corporate has advised tool hire company Supply UK Group on its acquisition by Dutch counterpart, Boels Rental.
Stockport-based Supply UK, which was founded in 1998 and operates from 25 locations across the UK, was bought by Boels for an undisclosed sum.
Supply UK Group managing director Chris Haycocks will continue to lead company which will be rebranded as Boels.
He said: “Boels investment will enable us to offer an ever-increasing selection of new equipment during our next phases of growth.”
Corporate partner Mark Winthorpe led the Pannone Corporate team which advised the shareholders of Supply UK. He was assisted by Andrew Walsh and Brogan Pani.
Mark said: “The dynamic management team at Supply UK has grown the business into a leader in the tool hire industry and the acquisition by Boels will enable it to further develop its services and reputation for providing the highest level of customer service in the sector.”
Ed Brentnall of Dow Schofield Watts carried out financial due diligence and Mike Blood and Sara Bluston of JMW provided legal advice to Boels.
Media Enquiries
Sheryl Moore
Email: sheryl.moore@pannonecorporate-com.stackstaging.com
Tel: 07990 805311

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