AA Awards 2008: Corporate Finance Deal of the Year

It has been a tough year for corporate finance, so BDO Stoy Hayward has done
especially well to scoop this award.

From the highs of 2006 and 2007, the M&A market has gone into freefall as
the credit crunch has seen cheap debt dry up and high profile companies like
Cadbury Schweppes forced to go for a demerger rather than a sale of its
beverages arm.

The rocky market conditions saw BDO advising optician G C Bateman on finding
a buyer for the ailing company, which had severe cashflow problems caused by the
millstone of a final salary pension scheme, among other issues.

This M&A deal was special because it did not just achieve the end-game of
finding a buyer, it also secured a return three times larger than expected for
the deficit-battered pension scheme.

The deal was something of a coup as BDO managed to secure a purchase price 14
times higher than earnings before interest depreciation and amortisation for a
business that was technically insolvent.
All staff except the board members were transferred as part of the sale, saving
about 490 jobs that would have been lost if the administrators had been called

Kevin Dolan of the PPF said: ‘We are very pleased with the price achieved and
both acknowledge and appreciate the amount of work BDO Stoy Hayward put into
achieving the successful outcome.’

The whole process was wrapped up just 12 weeks after BDO was brought on
board, with Vision Express snapping up the company 24 hours after putting in its
final offer.

Related reading