Corporate Finance – Firms lead #50m deals

Grant Thornton and PricewaterhouseCoopers acted as lead advisers in two management buyouts last week.

Grant Thornton Corporate Finance was the lead adviser on the Park Resorts MBO/MBI that created one of the largest holiday park operations in the UK, while PwC led the recently announced Financial Training deal.

Park Resorts, a management buyout/buy-in, was formed with the sale of 12 holiday parks by Haven, part of the Bourne Leisure Group, for #46m.

Bourne had acquired Haven last year as part of its acquisition of the Rank Holidays division.

The new company will be headed by David Vaughan, former managing director of Rank Leisure and Rank Entertainment.

He will be joined by Robert Sewell, the former finance director at Haven and Alan Castledine, Haven’s operations director.

The deal was backed by Close Brothers, with management and term debt facilities provided by Bank of Scotland.

Peter Gourd, based in Grant Thornton’s Thames Valley office, said: ‘It is easy to see why Close Brothers wanted to back this management team, who have a wealth of sector experience and knowledge. The new management team plans to build a brand which will be synonymous with good value UK holidays.’

The company said it now planned to expand within the UK by acquiring suitable sites around the country.

Close Brothers’ Sean Dinnen said: ‘The caravan holidays market continues to see good growth and represents a tremendous opportunity with less than 200 of the UK’s 3,500 caravan parks being owned corporately.’ Ernst & Young acted for the vendors and KPMG provided due diligence advice for the equity providers.

PwC acted as lead adviser on the management buyout at Financial Training, a deal said to be worth around #50m.

Financial Training is one of the UK’s top trainers of accountants and financial market professionals, with 17 centres and 240 employees. The company was bought by its management, led by managing director William Macpherson, from Dutch quoted company Wolters Kluwer Group.

Finance came from Royal Bank Private Equity and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein through equity finance and loan stock.

Financial Training was founded in 1958 and sold to Wolters in 1987. It provides training for half of all ICAEW students and is making inroads into the ACCA, CIMA and AAT markets.

PwC’s private equity director Andy Parker, who trained at Financial Training, said: ‘This was a fun deal as wherever we went for finance there was always someone who had passed through Financial Training.’

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