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Corbett Keeling has advised the founders of Acutest Limited on the sale of their business to Capita plc. Acutest is a leading IT systems testing consultancy, which focuses solely on testing software, business processes and IT, enabling its customers to achieve the benefits of technology-enabled change faster. The company’s customers range from start-ups through to blue chip multinational organisations. Acutest was founded by Tom Norris, Barry Varley and Lee Farman in 2002. The founders and the Acutest team will operate within Capita plc’s IT Professional Services division.
Corbett Keeling has advised Futuresource and its founders on joining a private equity backed family of high growth businesses.
About Futuresource Futuresource is a specialist research and knowledge-based consulting company specialising in market forecasts and intelligence reports. Futuresource provides essential data and strategic insight to a range of clients with an interest in the dynamic electronics and media industries including the largest well-known global brands. The founders of Futuresource had built a successful business over 20+ years and were looking to reduce their financial commitment and find a good home for the business as they stepped back.
Our role and added value Corbett Keeling was engaged to find and execute the best solution for Futuresource and the founders. We worked closely with Futuresource’s senior management over a number of months to identify and assess their strategic options, develop targeted business plans and structure the deal to capture value. Our approach achieved an optimal valuation for the exiting founders and a great home for the business.
Sarah Carrol, Co-founder of Futuresource, said: “As with most entrepreneurs, we have poured our hearts into our business and, although realising we would at some point need to step back, were cautious about beginning the process. The team at Corbett Keeling really were excellent at guiding us through the options and, when the time came, ensuring we secured the best deal with the best partner.” Ian Roper, CEO of Futuresource, said: “None of the Futuresource team had fully realised how much effort goes into preparing for and executing a transaction. I am extremely pleased we had the Corbett Keeling team working with us side-by-side throughout, their input was essential and added value both for the exiting founders and for the ongoing business.” Eric, Private Equity Principal , said: “We love this business and the management team’s plan for it. My thanks go to Corbett Keeling for connecting us to this opportunity and helping build a deal that works for all sides – they clearly know what we are looking for and drew out the key points.”
Corbett Keeling advised the founders and other shareholders of Air Charter Service Group Limited (“ACS”) on the sale of a minority stake in ACS to private equity investor Alcuin Capital Partners (“Alcuin”). ACS is a global leader in the aircraft charter market. Founded in 1990 by Chairman Chris Leach, it now employs a worldwide staff of more than 350 employees across 20 offices spanning six continents. The group offers private jet, commercial airliner and cargo aircraft charters, arranging more than 10,000 charters annually.
Justin Bowman, Chief Executive Officer of ACS, said: “The fact that this company has grown from the basement of a house to the largest charter brokerage in the world is a huge achievement and testament to our amazing team and corporate culture. However, we are still an ambitious organisation. Our growth to date has been entirely organic and whilst we will continue to follow those strategies that have been successful in the past, we wish to accelerate our expansion through capital investments in both technology and acquisitions of complementary businesses.”
Adrian Lurie, Partner of Alcuin Capital Partners said: “Air Charter Service is a leader in its field with a great team and strong track record of profitable growth. Their plans going forward are exciting and we are looking forward to working with them in this next phase of the business’ development. Corbett Keeling’s insight and understanding of ACS were invaluable and we were delighted to work with Jim Keeling and his team to bring the deal to a successful conclusion." ACS press release
Corbett Keeling advised the management team of Speciality European Pharma Limited (“SEP” ), on the acquisition of the speciality pharmaceutical and medical devices group from its venture capital shareholders with the backing of Juno Pharmaceuticals Inc. (“Juno”), an international specialty pharmaceutical company and leading life science investor. Headquartered in the UK, SEP is a speciality pharmaceutical and medical devices group that focuses on meeting the needs of the specialist physician. The Company was founded in 2006 and has grown rapidly over the past five years, with a commercial presence in much of Europe and a desire to grow beyond. The transaction provides the Company with the opportunity not only to continue its growth strategy with the existing products but also to invest for the long-term in the untapped potential in its proprietary development portfolio. Commenting on the Management Buy-Out, Jim Keeling, Chairman of Corbett Keeling, said: “Following the buy-out of SEP, the management team is extremely well placed to grow the business and realise the potential of its product portfolio. Together with backers, Juno, we wish them a successful future partnership." SEP press release
Corbett Keeling announces that private equity investor Alcuin Capital Partners ("Alcuin") has acquired a majority stake in Applied Market Information Ltd ("AMI"), a leading information and conference business, from its original founders and shareholders whom Corbett Keeling advised. With offices in the United Kingdom and North America, AMI is a leading provider of information services to the global plastics industry through syndicated reports, databases, digital magazines, consulting and conferences. AMI has grown steadily since it was founded in 1986, and this year will hold over 40 conferences for the plastics industry in Europe, the USA and the Far East – more than any other competitor world-wide. The team at Corbett Keeling, led by Jim Keeling, Francois Barou and Matt Dixon, advised the founders of AMI on the investment by Alcuin, which completed on 22 May 2015. The founders will continue to be actively involved in the business and have retained a significant minority stake. Sale of Applied Market Information press release - June 2015
Corbett Keeling advised the shareholders of Gee Lawson on the sale of the business to LEHVOSS UK Limited, the UK subsidiary of Germany-based Lehmann&VossCo. Gee Lawson, founded in 1936 and employing 34 with its head office in London, is a leading specialist distributor of ingredients into the Nutritional and Chemical life science sectors across Europe and the US. The transaction is a strategic move that strengthens the LEHVOSS Group portfolio in the nutritional and life science sectors across Europe and globally. Jim Keeling, who led the team advising Gee Lawson's shareholders, commented "LEHVOSS UK, as a new owner, is a great match for Gee Lawson. We are delighted at the successful outcome." CK Press Release - Gee Lawson August 2015
The management team of Advanced Power UK Ltd, the leading international developer of independent power generation projects, acquired the company from 3i plc in an MBO. Advanced Power develops and invests in power generation and related infrastructure projects in Europe and North America. Corbett Keeling provided targeted financial advice to the management team at key points during the MBO process and prior to that as the business was restructured.
Corbett Keeling is pleased to announce that it has successfully advised its client, the wealth manager Bestinvest, on the sale of its insurance broking subsidiary, Lovat Insurance Brokers, to Towergate Insurance. Bestinvest provides investment advice, financial planning and execution-only services predominantly to private individuals. Lovat is a corporate insurance broker based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Jim Keeling, Joint Chairman at Corbett Keeling, who led the transaction, commented: “The sale of Lovat Insurance Brokers has enabled Bestinvest to divest a non-core asset, whilst enhancing acquirer Towergate’s regional coverage and strengthening its relationships in the South East of England. This is yet another example of Corbett Keeling advising on the successful sale of a business where clear value was created for all parties.”
Corbett Keeling advised Challenge Energy on building the value of their business and subsequently on the sale of the company to SLR. Having initially advised the founders of Challenge Energy on how to make the value of their business clear to prospective partners, Corbett Keeling then managed the sale of the company, guiding the founders of the business through the whole process of selling their company to ensure that they attracted the right purchaser, at the right time for the right price.
Corbett Keeling advised HedgeStart Partners on the sale of their business to Cordium, a company in which Buy & Build specialist Sovereign Capital is an investor. Hedgestart was founded in 2000 to offer a range of start-up and on-going outsourced services predominantly to alternative investment businesses. Services include: Corporate Tax; Private Client Tax; FCA Regulatory Compliance; Accountancy & Payroll; and Strategic Consulting. Cordium is a global provider of regulatory compliance consulting and software services to regulated financial services companies.
Corbett Keeling advised Intrapharm Laboratories on raising debt funding in order to finance the company's acquisition strategy. Intrapharm Laboratories supplies both niche and branded pharmaceuticals to the NHS and international markets. Its team of professionals has many years of experience in the commercialisation of pharmaceutical products, taking them from registration to patient and thereby fostering a mutually beneficial relationship.
Corbett Keeling and our Greek Globalscope partner, First Athens Corporate Finance, advised Payzone Group Ltd and Coltonia Holdings Ltd on the sale of Payzone Hellas SA to OPAP Investment Ltd for a total consideration of Euros 7.75m. Payzone Group, backed by UK private equity investor Duke Street Capital, is one of the largest payment networks in Europe, providing a wide range of payment services in four European countries including the UK, Ireland, Greece and Romania. Payzone Hellas is the largest mobile phone top-up network in Greece with over 11,000 POS terminals installed processing annually some 30 million transactions. Payzone Hellas also pioneered bill payment & prepayment services for utilities and service providers in Greece and is the only independent organization in Greece other than banks to provide such services. Corbett Keeling and First Athens worked together as members of Globalscope Partners to initiate the opportunity and advised on the sale of the Greek business.
Corbett Keeling advised Alpha Financial Markets Consulting, a leading provider of consulting, benchmarking and implementation services to financial institutions in the UK, Continental Europe and globally, on the sale of their business to UK Private Equity group, Baird Capital, in a transaction valuing the company at £28m. This deal is a good example of the resurgence of Private Equity ("PE") interest in consulting firms with a strong growth history. Alpha attracted eight offers from the PE community and the shareholders chose Baird because of the flexibility of the deal structure, the financial resources they could make available and the support that Baird offered the management team in taking the company to the next stage of growth.
Hörmann International Beteiligungs GmbH, part of the Hörmann Group, a family owned German manufacturer of industrial and residential doors, acquired IG Doors Ltd, a UK manufacturer of external doors for the housebuilding industry. This provided an exit for NVM Private Equity, which backed the MBO of IG Doors in 2003. Corbett Keeling identified the opportunity and, working together with its German Globalscope partner, CatCap Corporate Finance, introduced it to the Hörmann Group.
Xerxes Equity Ltd is an investment company, which was formed by John Cowley in 2011, with the intention of building a market leading group of building products manufacturers. Xerxes acquired four businesses from Eleco plc, an AIM listed company, including SpeedDeck Building Systems, Downer Cladding Systems, Stramit Panel Products and Prompt Profiles. Corbett Keeling has worked for many years with John Cowley, who has been conducting turnaround projects for the last 18 years, and introduced this opportunity to Xerxes Equity.
Explore Learning, the UK company with multiple English and maths tuition centres, led by founder Bill Mills, was sold to Graphite Capital. The controlling shareholding was acquired from a group of investors including the Spectrum Venture Management Fund and Wittington Investments Limited. Bill Mills and the senior management team re-invested the majority of their stake in the company. Corbett Keeling has worked with Bill Mills, who set up Explore Learning in 2001, over many years and advised him throughout the sale process and particularly on the terms of his reinvestment in the business.
pH Associates, the market leading ‘Real World Data’ and ‘Market Access’ consultancy in the health sector, was sold to OPEN Health, a joint venture with global communications group Chime Communications Plc. pH Associates was set up by Kate Peperell and Lesley Howell in 1999. As the two founding shareholders started to consider an exit for the business they had created, they appointed Corbett Keeling to assess how to grow revenue, build equity and sell the business at the right time for maximum value. Once they had reached this “right time”, Kate and Lesley appointed Corbett Keeling to advise them on the sale of their business.
Cantab Asset Management, the firm of independent financial advisers formerly known as Saunderson Asset Management, acquired Hodgson & Faraday, a fellow financial advisory firm. Corbett Keeling introduced the opportunity to Cantab and advised on the terms of the transaction.
GMT Communications Partners backed the £38.5m investor buy-out of MeetingZone Ltd, a provider of conference call services to business and home users, from the founders, Tim Duffy and Steve Gandy. Corbett Keeling introduced GMT Communications Partners to this investment opportunity.
Redeem, which recycles used mobile phones, print cartridges and other electronic devices, was acquired by a management buy-in team led by Curt Hopkins and Pete Petrondas and backed by Trevor Bayley, a founding partner of HgCapital. Corbett Keeling helped identify the opportunity for the buy-in team.
Constantine Group plc, which invests in the logistics, manufacturing, property and renewable energy sector, backed the management buyout of The Green Company (Europe) Ltd, a renewable energy company specialising in the installation of onshore wind and solar farms. Corbett Keeling advised Constantine Group plc on the terms of the transaction.
Cordium (previously known as IMS Consulting), a provider of consulting and business support services for the wholesale asset management and securities sector, was sold to an investor led management team comprising both existing and new directors. The Buy-in Management Buy-out, or “BIMBO”, was backed by Sovereign Capital. Corbett Keeling advised Scott Wilson, the founder of IMS, and his co-shareholder, on the strategy for the sale of their business and on the execution of the transaction.
Frazer-Nash (Midhurst) Ltd, a company that designs and manufacturers food handling, processing and packaging machinery, was acquired by a management team led by Paul Mortlock. Corbett Keeling advised Paul Mortlock and the investor on implementing the transaction.
Micro Materials Ltd, a manufacturer of scientific analysis instruments, was acquired from Millbrook Scientific Instruments plc by a management team backed by David Harding. Corbett Keeling advised David Harding on the acquisition.
Home Choice Care, a provider of care to individuals in their own homes, undertook an acquisition search which resulted in the acquisition of Lilac Care Ltd, a provider of in-home care support services. Corbett Keeling undertook the acquisition search on behalf of Home Choice Care. Home Choice Care was subsequently acquired by Westminster Homecare in November 2012.
Efficio, a management consultancy focused on procurement and supply chain optimisation, secured a debt-financed equity release in order to provide funding for its shareholders. Corbett Keeling advised Efficio on this fund raising against a very tight time frame.
HCML, the UK’s leading independent provider of professional rehabilitation, case management and employment services to the insurance industry, solicitors and corporate clients, undertook a secondary management buy-out from 3i. Corbett Keeling advised Helen Merfield, CEO and founder of HCML on all aspects of the buy-out, including arranging funding, agreeing terms and managing the whole process on behalf of the management team.
The management team of Communisis Bath Business Forms and Economailer, leading UK manufacturers and distributors of business forms and stationery, acquired these companies from UK listed company Communisis plc in an MBO. The businesses were renamed Integrity Print. Corbett Keeling advised the management team, led by Mark Cornford, on all aspects of this MBO, including arranging funding, agreeing terms and managing the whole process on behalf of the management team.
The Keswick Enterprises Group, a UK-based private equity investor set up in June 2004 by John Harvey CBE and associates to invest in logistics and supply chain-related businesses, acquired Link Logistics Group, a provider of contracted logistics services for the food industry at both frozen and ambient temperatures. Corbett Keeling advised Keswick Enterprises on the terms of its acquisition and funding.
Dernier & Hamlyn, a manufacturer of lighting equipment, raised development capital from Endless LLP and acquired Tindle Lighting, a fellow manufacturer of lighting equipment. Corbett Keeling advised the company on its fund raising, which comprised a mixture of debt and equity, helped identify acquisition opportunities and advised on the terms of the acquisition of Tindle Lighting.
Exmet Building Products Group Ltd, a new company formed by John Cowley, Nigel Dickinson and Roger Hall, acquired Expamet Building Products Ltd, a manufacturer of specialist metal building products from Royal Bank of Scotland. The management buy-in was backed by GE Capital. Corbett Keeling advised the management buy-in team on all aspects of their acquisition, including raising finance and negotiating the terms of the transaction.
Harris Hill, a recruitment consultant specialising in the charity and not for profit sector, was sold to a management buy-in team backed by YFM Private Equity. Corbett Keeling advised the shareholders of Harris Hill on all aspects of the sale of their business, including identifying possible buyers, negotiating terms and managing the process throughout.
Healthcare Enterprise Group plc, an international healthcare services company focused on occupational healthcare, private healthcare services and distribution of medical devices, sold its subsidiary CICS, a supplier of medical and dental products, to Trycare Ltd, a supplier and distributor of products to the dental and chiropody markets. Corbett Keeling advised Healthcare Enterprise Group on the sale of its subsidiary.
Keswick Enterprises, a UK-based private equity investor set up in June 2004 by John Harvey CBE and associates to invest in logistics and supply chain-related businesses, arranged an acquisition finance facility. Corbett Keeling advised Keswick Enterprises on this fund raising.
Tysers, a provider of insurance and reinsurance brokerage services, was sold to its management team in a funding and share re-structuring led by Christopher Spratt as Chairman and Chris Elliott as Chief Executive. Corbett Keeling advised on all aspects of this management buyout and shareholding restructuring, including advising the outgoing shareholders on the sale of their shares, the new shareholders on the acquisition of their shares, the company on the raising of finance and the terms of the transaction, and managing the process throughout.
BigHead Bonding Fasteners, a manufacturer of stainless steel fasteners for a variety of industries, was sold to its management team, led by Brian Giddings, and backed by EPIC Investment Partners. Corbett Keeling advised the management team on raising finance and the terms of the transaction and managed the whole process on behalf of the management team.
Corbett Keeling acted as expert witness in the case of Chantrey Vellacott vs Convergence. The dispute concerned the way in which one would go about attracting investment into a substantial telecoms project. Corbett Keeling's experience of fund-raising, including in the telecoms sector, meant we were ideally placed to provide the support required.
Towry Law Insurance was sold by Towry Law plc to its management team, led by Martin Wright. The MBO was funded by Broker Network plc, a trade investor. Corbett Keeling advised the management team on finding and structuring the financing and on the design and terms of this highly unusual "trade-backed management buy-out" transaction.
Advantage Healthcare, a leading healthcare services provider trading under the name BUPA Healthcare Professionals, was sold to a management team backed by Rutland Partners. Corbett Keeling advised the management team on raising finance, structuring the transaction and negotiating terms.
Find.co.uk, one of the UK’s leading consumer finance portals, was sold to a management team backed by Electra Quoted Management and FF&P Private Equity. Corbett Keeling advised the management team on the entire process, including raising finance, structuring the transaction and negotiating terms.
Ashley House, specialists in funding the design and development of flexible and effective health and care properties, raised and refinanced equity and debt. Corbett Keeling advised Ashley House on this financial restructuring and fund raising.
Aspace Solutions, a provider of business security solutions and specialist consultancy services to the banking sector, raised equity funding and sold a minority stake to a trade backer. Corbett Keeling advised Aspace Solutions on this shareholder restructuring and equity financing.
Glencairn Ltd, an insurance broker, was acquired by its management team from Glensure Ltd, a subsidiary of Glenrand, a South African provider of risk advisory and financial services. Corbett Keeling advised the management team of Glencairn on the buyout of their business.
Oakburn Properties, the property investment company, was taken private in a contested takeover. Corbett Keeling advised the bidder, Hodgson & Faraday Property Management Services Ltd, on its successful takeover bid which was subject to The Takeover Code rules.
Opus Holdings Limited, a regional insurance broking and group benefits consultancy business, backed by Bridgepoint Capital and Royal Bank of Scotland, was sold to Willis, the global insurance broker. Corbett Keeling advised the Opus management team on its strategy for selling their business and the terms obtained.
Terrace Hill, a provider of property investment and commercial property development services, made an offer for the shares of Grosvenor Land Holdings plc, a provider of real estate services, which the Terrace Hill concert party did not already own. Corbett Keeling advised Terrace Hill on the recommended bid for the quoted company which was subject to the Takeover Code rules.
Gieves & Hawkes plc, the bespoke gentleman's tailor, quoted on the London Stock Exchange, was subject to a recommended cash offer. Corbett Keeling advised the independent directors of Gieves & Hawkes plc on the offer for the company, which was subject to the Takeover Code.
Linguaphone, a provider of self-study language learning products and associated support services, raised development funding from a consortium of institutional investors, including Inflexion Ltd. Corbett Keeling advised Linguaphone on this fund raising.
Radiant Networks, the pioneer of broadband wireless mesh technology, raised development capital from a group of institutional investors, including Advent Venture Partners and existing shareholders, Intel Capital and Sandler Capital. Corbett Keeling advised Radiant Networks on this fund raising.
The British Land Company plc, the property investment and development group, acquired by way of recommended cash offers FRP Group plc, a company which traded as an unquoted residential property investment company. Corbett Keeling originated this transaction.
Chivers Communications plc, publishers of large print and unabridged audio books and children’s books, quoted on the OFEX market, was subject to a recommended cash offer from BBC Worldwide Ltd, the commercial arm of the BBC. Corbett Keeling advised Chivers on the recommended offer from the BBC. The offer was subject to the Takeover Code.
GB International Ltd, a distributor of optical and photographic equipment, was sold to Multivision GmbH, a German distributor of presentation products. Corbett Keeling advised the owners of GB International, including Yorkshire Fund Managers, whom we had originally introduced to the business four years previously, on their exit strategy, identifying and introducing possible purchasers and leading the negotiations with the trade buyer.
WT Food plc, a producer and wholesaler of ethnic foods, was acquired by its management team in a buy-out backed by Bridgepoint Capital. Corbett Keeling advised a co-investor to Bridgepoint Capital. WT Foods was acquired by GraceKennedy, the large Caribbean conglomerate, in 2007 and now trades as Grace Foods UK.
Chivers Communications plc, publishers of large print and unabridged audio books and children’s books, acquired a 30% interest in Oneword Radio Ltd, operator of the only national commercial digital radio station dedicated to the spoken word. Corbett Keeling advised Chivers on its investment in Oneword Radio.
Linguaphone, a provider of self-study language learning products and associated support services, raised equity funding from two private equity investors. Corbett Keeling advised Linguaphone on raising this equity finance and restructuring existing capital.
Radiant Networks, the pioneer of broadband wireless mesh technology, secured second-stage financing from a range of institutional and private investors, including Advent Venture Partners, Intel Capital, executives of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Sandler Capital Management. Corbett Keeling advised Radiant Networks on this equity fund raising.
Virgin Cars Ltd, trading as virgincars.com, an online service launched by Virgin Group to provide a total motor vehicle sales and after-sales package, raised development capital. Corbett Keeling advised Virgin Cars on raising development capital to support the launch of the business.
Chivers Communications plc, publisher of large print and unabridged audio books and children's books, was listed on OFEX. The flotation followed the demerger from Gieves Group plc. Corbett Keeling advised Chivers Communications on its flotation.
Gieves Group, the quoted bespoke gentleman’s tailor, demerged its publishing business, Chivers Press Ltd, a publisher of large print and unabridged audio books and children’ s books. The shares of Chivers were admitted to trading on OFEX by way of a placing. Following the demerger, Gieves Group changed its name to Gieves & Hawkes plc. Corbett Keeling advised Gieves Group on the demerger of Chivers Press, a transaction governed by the Takeover Code and the Rules of the London Stock Exchange.
Linguaphone, a provider of self-study language learning products and associated support services, raised equity funding and restructured debt by way of a rights issue, an issue of convertible preference shares and an issue of warrants to subscribe for ordinary shares. Corbett Keeling advised Linguaphone on the funding and issue of shares and share warrants.
Apollo Underwriting Ltd, an agency that manages a Lloyds of London syndicate specialising in marine insurance, was acquired by Munich Re AG, the German insurer, from Stewart Underwriting plc, an underwriting agent at Lloyds of London. Corbett Keeling advised on this transaction.
GB International Ltd, a distributor of optical and photographic equipment, raised equity and debt with release of personal guarantees from Yorkshire Fund Managers and a group of private investors. Corbett Keeling advised GB Internationial on this fund raising.
Over the course of the sale of our business we worked with several members of the team at Corbett Keeling. They were all excellent – showing strength in depth and breadth. The care and attention they put into advising us, and their skill in finding a buyer and dealing sensitively with all the parties involved in the transaction, were outstanding.Steve and Julie Hill
Former owners of Harris Hill, following its sale to a Management Buy-in team