JUNE UPDATE: Latest business deals in and around the South East Midlands

7 July 2015

Mergers and Acquisitions across the South East Midlands remained robust in June, with 13 transactions across an array of industries, with the Financial Services and Real Estate sectors playing a leading role.

Mattioli Woods Plc, a Leicester­-based specialist pensions consultancy and wealth management business, acquired Boyd Coughlan Ltd, which, based in Buckingham, provides professional Independent Financial Advice (IFA) to both corporate and personal clients. The initial consideration of £4.5m was satisfied with £3.3m in cash and the issue of 235,742 new ordinary shares to the sellers. A deferred consideration of up to £2.5m is payable in cash in the two years following completion depending upon financial targets.

MacIntyre Hudson LLP, a Milton Keynes­ headquartered accountancy and business advisory services firm, merged with the Folkestone office of Spain Brothers & Co, a firm of chartered accountants with clients in the not ­for ­profit,  logistics, construction and motoring sectors. The deal is another step forward in MacIntyre Hudson’s ambition to become a truly UK ­wide business. With £41.8m in revenues, MHA MacIntyre Hudson currently stands 18th in the Accountancy Age Top 50+50 Survey of Firms.

Also in this corner of the market, DNG Financial Solutions Ltd, a Northampton-­based independent financial advisory firm, was acquired by Succession Group Ltd, a provider of wealth management services, for £2.9m. The deal is Succession’s 14th buyout towards its ultimate goal of acquiring 50 firms by the end of 2017. DNG joined Succession as a member in 2010 and since then has doubled its funds under management to £90m.

Looking at the real estate market, and in what was by far the largest deal of the month, Standard Life Investments Ltd signed a purchase agreement for a new warehouse at Magna Park in Milton Keynes in a deal worth £87.5m. The new warehouse is currently being constructed by US ­based developer IDI Gazeley, with retailer John Lewis already having signed a 25 ­year lease on the 630,000 sq ft facility.

Meanwhile, Stonegate Pub Company Ltd, a company registered in the Cayman Islands, trading from Luton. announced plans to acquire 15 pubs in central Scotland. The pubs are situated in locations including St Andrews, Glasgow’s West End and the Edinburgh University district. Stonegate Pub is owned by private equity firm TDR Capital. The deal is expected to be formally completed in July.

In the retail space, Aylesbury-­based Lucas World of Furniture Ltd was acquired by Stokers Holdings Ltd, located in Southport, Merseyside, which sells a range of household furniture.

Also in the property sphere, Banbury-­based Bannisters Ltd, which provides property letting and rental services, merged with fellow letting agents Tobin Jones Property Ltd, located in Bicester. The merger has created the largest dedicated lettings agency in Bicester, with a portfolio of more than 800 properties. Bicester currently holds the accolade of being the fastest­-growing market town in Europe.

Turning to the waste management sector, Mick George Ltd, a St Ives, Cambridgeshire ­based provider of skip hire and waste management services, acquired the trade waste business of Recycle Force Ltd, located in Corby, Northamptonshire, which provides waste collection and treatment services for both hazardous and non-­hazardous waste items.

The acquisition of the division will see Mick George take ownership of five collection vehicles and 1,600 bins, increasing the firm’s bin count to more than 2,000 and doubling the size of its commercial waste fleet.

In a related sector, CANAI (Europe) Ltd, a company registered in Milton Keynes and headquartered in High Wycombe, which specialises in the sustainable recovery, reuse and recycling of redundant electronic products, was bought by Ingram Micro Inc, a California ­based provider of a range of Information Technology (IT) wholesale distribution services to the IT industry.

In the energy space, a sizeable transaction came in the form of NextEnergy Solar Fund Ltd, a Guernsey-­based investor in a diversified portfolio of photovoltaic assets in the UK, signing an agreement to acquire the special purpose vehicle which owns Wellingborough solar power plant, which generates 8.5MWp of electricity, for £10.9m.

In another transaction, Inifinis Energy Plc, a Northampton-­based generator of renewable power, acquired the 18.5MW Blue Sky Forest Wind Farm in Widdrington, Northumberland, from Tokenhouse Ltd, an Isle of Man registered business that acts as the holding company for the Manchester-­based Peel Group. Grid energisation for the project is expected in June 2016.

The manufacturing industry also registered one sizeable investment in June, with Stewart Group EMB Ltd, the Banbury­-based manufacturer of plastic housewares, food storage containers and plant pots, securing an £11m funding package from Santander Corporate and Commercial. The funds will be used to expand its existing manufacturing capacity. Founded in 1945, the company’s products are sold in more than 1,600 outlets across the UK and Ireland including DIY stores such as Homebase, Wilkinson and B&Q and garden centres including Dobbies and Klondyke/Strikes, as well as more than 600 independent garden centres.

In the engineering space, Axillium Consulting Ltd, headquartered in Daventry, which provides research and development services to engineering and manufacturing businesses, announced it has become employee owned by means of the Axillium Trustee Ltd, a newly ­formed benefit trust vehicle that which enables employees to buy shares in Axillium Consulting.

Outside the M&A market, Vauxhall announced that it has teamed up with Luton-­based OnStar, in rolling out the OnStar technology offering which includes a 4G LTE mobile network, emergency response notification and stolen vehicle recovery technology. Vauxhall stated that the system will be free for all customers for the first year, and will be available in selected models in Vauxhall’s passenger car range from August. The deal will create 120 new jobs at OnStar’s European headquarters in Luton, which is also home to the Vivaro van plant and UK distribution centre.

Finally for June, Hitachi Rail Europe announced the opening of its new offices in Milton Keynes. The new headquarters in Avebury Boulevard­ will at first accommodate 25 employees, rising to 50 at full capacity. The new premises will house the Project Team working on the delivery of the AT200 commuter trains for Abellio’s ScotRail franchise, as well as the Learning and Development division of Hitachi Rail Europe. The new office will allow Hitachi Rail Europe to be closer to one of its key customers, Network Rail.