BusinessCorporate FinanceFord Cambell helps Bankhall catch Lynx

Ford Cambell helps Bankhall catch Lynx

Ford Campbell, the Manchester based corporate finance specialist, has clinched two headline deals taking advantage of the current trend for takeovers to unwind.

The most significant saw Bankhall, a support service provider to independent financial advisers, launch a £210m takeover of parent company Lynx, the Oxford-based software group.

Bankhall chief executives Simon Taylor and Paul Hogarth have joined with Swedish insurance group Skandia to seal the deal on which Ford Campbell advised along with law firm Eversheds. Bankhall has made a 120p per share offer for Lynx which they plan to sell back to the software company’s bosses for £60m.

The deal comes in the wake of surveys which have shown a significant move to unwind big international takeovers. Figures from KPMG show one in three recently acquired companies are now up for resale.

The news is bound is to have an impact on City corporate finance houses which have seen activity drop off significantly.

Many do not expect a pick-up until the second half of this year. with some headline mergers, like that of Hewlett Packard with Compaq, still incomplete.

According to reports KPMG also found that up to 32% of chief executives and finance directors responsible for organising the deals have now parted company with their employers.

Recent figures show that M&A activity has fallen to a 10-year low in the wake of the economic downturn and falling share prices.

Ford Campbell also sealed a £32m MBO, a deal struck against a falling MBO trend.The firm’s deal was for management at the carpet accessories maker Gradus to acquire the business from parent company the Headlam Group for a consideration of £32m.

Gradus reported turnover of of £34.5m in the year to December 2000 and earnings before interest and tax of £4.3m.

This is the biggest deal for Ford since the 11 September attacks, a struggle highlighted by statistics showing little MBO activity in the last quarter of 2001.

Chris Froggatt, one of Ford Campbell’s advisers on the deal, said: ‘Gradus is a very strong, proactive business with an excellent management team.

Last year began with a peak of 35 deals on the first quarter.

By the last quarter however the number dropped considerably to 22. The values involved saw total numbers peaking in the second quarter at £7.2bn but falling to just £1.3bn in the last quarter of the year.

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