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The Business Magazine July 2024
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Law firm Thrings completes sale of Optimal Industrial Automation and Technologies to Bruker

The Business Magazine article image for: Law firm Thrings completes sale of Optimal Industrial Automation and Technologies to Bruker
20 April 2022

Swindon- and Bristol-based lawyers from Thrings have completed the sale of long-term client Optimal Industrial Automation and Technologies, a global leader for integrated process analytical technology (PAT) solutions.

Shareholders of the two Bristol-based Optimal businesses have sold their entire issued share capital to global biotechnology company Bruker, which develops, manufactures and distributes high-performance scientific instruments and analytical and diagnostic solutions.

The deal will enable Optimal to integrate additional analytical technologies such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectrometry (MS) into innovative PAT and quality control solutions, while strengthening Bruker’s position as a leading end-to-end solution provider in the bio-pharmaceutical market.

Founded by Martin Gadsby and Dave Richards in 1987, Optimal provides industrial automation solutions and PAT software and services to life sciences, pharmaceutical, biotechnological, chemical, FMCG, power generation and food and beverage customers around the globe from offices in Yate and Emersons Green.

Optimal’s solutions range from the development of automated control systems for batch, continuous and discrete processes through to the implementation of its market-leading, vendor-agnostic, PAT knowledge management software, synTQ.

Martin said: “We are delighted to part of the Bruker family. Optimal and Bruker together are a perfect fit – we share the common ethos of delivering innovation with integrity, together with being recognised in the industry of providing high-quality solutions that deliver tangible benefits to our customers.

“The whole Optimal team is excited with this new chapter in our history and look forward to delivering benefits to even more customers and patients around the world.”

Martin Gadsby and Dave Richards received legal, commercial and strategic advice from a Thrings team led by Swindon-based client partner and head of commercial, Kate Westbrook, and corporate partner, Elaine Meyrick. They were supported by corporate partner John Richardson and solicitor Matt Cornforth.

Partner Alex Pinhey and paralegal Emma Stratford – who are also based at Thrings’ offices in Swindon - handled the property aspects of the deal, with senior associate Natalie Ward advising on employment law matters, and associate Abigail Sinden providing specialist intellectual property advice.

The Entrepreneurs Hub team comprised senior deal leader Mike O’Connor, project director Paul Gibbons, research manager Steve Wadsworth and director Tim Allaston.

Martin said: “The whole sale process is surprisingly involved and complex, and it would have been totally impossible without the superb assistance and guidance from the Thrings and Entrepreneurs Hub teams. I can honestly say that both teams have been utterly fantastic, and their professional yet easy-to-work-with style couldn’t have been better. Both Dave and I thank them from the bottom of our hearts.”

Kate Westbrook said: “The Thrings team is very pleased to have successfully completed the sale of Optimal Industrial Automation and Technologies on behalf of Martin and Dave. Having first acted for Optimal in 2004, we are thrilled to see their hard work rewarded and the companies enjoy the success they so richly deserve.

“It was fantastic to work with Entrepreneurs Hub for the first time. The teams combined well and remained focused on the best outcome for our mutual clients throughout.”

Mike O’Connor said: “It has been a real pleasure working with Martin and Dave, and I am confident they have found a great home for their business. The team at Thrings has been great to work with and provided fantastic support throughout the process."

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP UK provided legal advice to Bruker led by corporate partner Graeme Bruce and a team of more than 30 specialist lawyers.

Pictured: Tim Allaston (Entrepreneurs Hub), Kate Westbrook (Thrings), Martin Gadsby (Optima), Dave Richards (Optimal), Elaine Meyrick (Thrings), and Mike O’Connor (Entrepreneurs Hub)


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Peter Davison is deputy editor of The Business Magazine. He has spent his life in journalism – doing work experience in newsrooms in and around Bristol while still at school, and landing his first job on a local newspaper aged 19. By 28 he was the youngest newspaper editor in the country.

An early advocate of online news, he spent the first years of the 2000s telling his bosses that the internet posed both the biggest opportunity and greatest threat to the newspaper industry and the art of journalism. He was right on both counts.

Since 2006 he has enjoyed a career as a freelance journalist. He lives in rural Wiltshire with one wife, two children, and three cats.

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