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When raising capital, whether it be development capital, to fund an acquisition, MBO or MBI, or for a financial restructuring, our aim is that every transaction on which we advise results in the optimal mix of what we call the Corbett Keeling "3 Cs". Having listened carefully to our clients' objectives, our approach ensures they achieve the best possible combination of:
Cash – the quantity and terms of the funding
Certainty – achieving the greatest confidence that the transaction will be completed and cash delivered to you
Chemistry – whether you can work with the people providing the funds
Equity and debt providers each have their own investment criteria and thresholds concerning the size, sector, location and stage of development of a business. Companies seeking to raise capital need access to the most suitable financial investor. Corbett Keeling has devoted very considerable resource over the past 25 years to building strong relationships with over 200 providers of equity, debt and similar funding.
Vital to the success of any transaction is obtaining the very best access to funders. These are just some of the equity, mezzanine and debt investors and funders we have worked with:
The chance to carry out a management buy-out ("MBO") is often a once in a lifetime opportunity for a management team to make a substantial capital gain. The skill is to recognise the opportunity before it becomes widely apparent – it may arise when:
Corbett Keeling has developed a tried and tested process to guide the MBO team from initial discussions with the current owner of the business through to completion.
Vital to the success of any buy-out is obtaining the very best access to funding. Corbett Keeling, therefore, devotes considerable resource to building and maintaining relationships with equity and debt providers and has an exceptional track record in matching management teams with suitable backers.
Development capital may be required for a variety of different types of opportunity, triggered by market, technological or management change.
There may be a possibility, with funding, to turn a business around following a period of difficulties, or a window for growth as a result of far-sighted decisions that have positioned your business in a new, expanding market. You may be pursuing a buy and build strategy and require development capital to acquire competitors.
Whatever the situation, extra cash will often be key to unlocking the future potential and making the most of the opportunity. We understand the issues involved and the timescales to which management is often operating in such circumstances.
Corbett Keeling has the ability and experience, drawing on our access to funding and knowledge of fund managers’ requirements, to advise you on raising capital, whether debt, mezzanine or equity, on the best possible terms.
Companies sometimes need to restructure their capital because trading is not going as well as planned, in which case they may ask debt providers to convert their loans to equity.
Conversely, when trading is going well, companies may seek to re-finance expensive equity or debt funding by raising cheaper debt to repay part or all of the existing funding.
Corbett Keeling has extensive experience in advising clients on financially restructuring their company. We have spent many years building strong relationships with providers of equity, debt and similar funding and are able to draw on this valuable access to funding to introduce our clients to the most appropriate sources of funds. In this way, and by using our in-depth knowledge of the funders' requirements together with our understanding of our client's business sector, we ensure our clients achieve the optimal balance of equity and debt for their business on the best possible terms.
Corbett Keeling advised Doyle Clayton, a successful law firm specialising in workplace and employment law, on its sale to an Employee Ownership Trust. By accessing our network of debt providers we know to be interested in EOT transactions, we were able to arrange debt funding on competitive terms for our client.
“The transition to employee ownership has been a long time in the planning, including seeking approval from the Solicitors Regulation Authority ("SRA") to the structure of the business. We’re delighted to be one of the first law firms to transition to this ownership structure which manages to retain the best parts of the traditional partnership structure but without the associated exclusivity. Doyle Clayton is proud to join the increasing numbers of businesses that have chosen employee ownership as the way forward, and we’re particularly happy to be an early adopter in the legal sector.”
Peter Doyle, CEO, Doyle Clayton
Corbett Keeling, has advised Arbuckles, a successful restaurant with branches in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, on its sale to an Employee Ownership Trust. Arbuckles operates two restaurants in Ely and Downham Market, with a focus on American cuisine.
John Murphy, Arbuckles, said: “I was guided through the whole process by the expert advice provided by Corbett Keeling and RM2. That way I was provided with a "One Stop Shop" that could answer any questions I had and manage the process from inception to completion. I cannot recommend the process and advice highly enough and without it would not have succeeded in a sale that allowed everyone to benefit.”
Corbett Keeling advised the shareholders of a multi-service provider to the air freight industry, on the sale of a majority stake in the business to an Employee Ownership Trust.
“It was a pleasure to work with the team on this transaction. There is a real buzz to the company, which has performed so well over the last few years. This transaction opens the door to the next stage of growth of the business, with the employees able to be rewarded for their hard work.”
Harry Knight, Corporate Finance Director, Corbett Keeling
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.”
Chris Leach, Co-Founder and Chairman of ACS, said: “It was a pleasure dealing with Jim Keeling and his team throughout the process. We wanted to find the right partners and to do the right deal for us - Corbett Keeling delivered just that.”
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."
Patrick Banks, CEO of Speciality European Pharma, said: "Corbett Keeling created a way forward, where others could not, at a critical moment for the management team. Their access to the appropriate funders in the UK and overseas, and their ability to move quickly, were both crucial to making this transaction possible." 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
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
John Herring has advised me on the pros and cons of a number of transactions. His assistance and advice are always timely and to the point, and it is a pleasure to work with him. His help on the acquisition of Edinburgh Woollen Mills was vital to the success of that transaction.Philip Day
Chief Executive, Edinburgh Woollen Mills, following its purchase from Rutland Trust in a secondary MBO