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The Business Magazine July 2024
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Thames Valley Deals Awards celebrate region's dealmaking excellence

The winners of the 2024 Thames Valley Deals Awards
The winners of the 2023 Thames Valley Deals Awards
24 November 2023
The winners of the 2023 Thames Valley Deals Awards

Dealmakers from across the region gathered at Reading FC's Select Car Leasing Stadium to honour outstanding achievements at the 2023 Thames Valley Deal Awards.

Over 300 corporate deal professionals and their guests cheered on winners in 14 categories during a packed evening of celebration.

Richard Thompson, Managing Director of The Business Magazine, began by thanking the award category sponsors for their support. They were HMT LLP, Gateley Legal, Crowe U.K. LLP, Shawbrook, ThinCats, LDC, HCR Law, BDB Pitmans, IBB Law LLP, R3vamp and BDO LLP.

He also thanked the independent judges John Buxton from Kingsworth Corporate Finance and Jeremy Hill from Kleinwort Hambros. They faced the tough task of helping to whittle down the entrants, choose the finalists and agree on the winners.

For the Corporate-to-Corporate, Small, Mid-Range and Large Deal of the Year awards, the judges’ choices made up 70% of the vote. On the evening, the audience vote counted for the remaining 30%.

This year, a special award was given in honour of The Business Magazine’s founder, David Murray. The first recipient was Duncan Lamb, Corporate Finance Partner at BDO LLP.

Once again, the ever-popular host, TV presenter Mark Durden-Smith, returned to preside over the awards.

During the evening, guests generously donated £2,650 to Professor Lakhoo's Charity Foundation with more to come from a silent auction.

And the winners are…

Non-Bank Lender of the Year sponsored by HCR Law

Winner: ThinCats

“It's been a busy year for us. There is still momentum in the lower-mid market where we are lending. Deals have been a bit slower and more difficult to conclude, but we are continuing to support SMEs in the region. We take a very pragmatic approach on deals and are fleet of foot. We aim to deliver solutions that we feel are right for the business and right for us as a lender. We are carrying some momentum into the final quarter of 2023 and think there will be softness in the market in the first quarter of 2024 as volumes tail off a little. But we are expecting activity to pick up again in the second quarter.” Dave Sherrington, Managing Director, ThinCats

Finalists:

• Leumi ABL

• The FSE Group

• Tower Leasing

• Triple Point Private Credit

Private Equity Firm of the Year sponsored by HMT LLP

Winner: YFM Private Equity

“It has been a really busy year and the firm has grown by around 20%-25%. We are in a fortunate situation where we have a funding solution that works for a wide range of SMEs. We back management teams from quite small to more significant SMEs, which has helped us to grow significantly. The key thing for us is backing high-quality management teams across a broad range of companies that have interesting growth plans. We have an equity package that can support that. Everyone has got used to the current business challenges and I don't think these are going to change. In fact, we see the next 12 months continuing to be busy, if not busier." David Wrench, Partner, YFM Private Equity

Finalists:

• BGF

• Connection Capital

• LDC

• Maven Capital Partners

• NVM Private Equity

Corporate Finance Adviser of the Year sponsored by Gateley Legal

Winner: Stuart Williams – James Cowper Kreston

"This has been a really good year for me and the team. Among the highlights were a couple of complex deals – Norman Global Logistics and Urban Planters. My approach is that there's always an answer to suit both the buy side and sell side in any deal. It's a question of finding the middle ground and you can do that in a friendly way without being aggressive. We are usually involved with clients on a deal for a long period, so you have to build trust with them. I've been working on Thames Valley deals for 20 years and it's helpful having a well-connected deal community. It makes it easier to hold conversations with other professionals to find the best solutions." Stuart Williams, Corporate Finance Partners, James Cowper Kreston

Finalists:

• Tim Armstrong – PwC

• Sami Fairris – KPMG

• Wendy Hart – HMT LLP

• Clive Hatchard – FRP Corporate Finance

• Duncan Lamb – BDO LLP

• Ricky Lane – HMT LLP

Due Diligence Team of the Year sponsored by R3vamp

Winner: Crowe U.K. LLP

"I’m really chuffed, and it’s great for the team to be recognised this way by the people in the room tonight. It’s taken a while to build the team to where it is today, but I have enjoyed every minute of it. The team are amazing and has the capacity and capability to support the local community with its deals, no matter how big or small.” Bob Alsop, Partner, Crowe U.K. LLP

Finalists:

• BDO LLP

• Grant Thornton

• HMT LLP

• James Cowper Kreston

• PwC

• RSM

• Wilson Partners

Lawyer of the Year sponsored by BDO LLP

Winner: Rachel Turner – HCR Law

“It’s been a good year for me and my team. I’m blown away by the continued support and the recognition this award gives our corporate finance team. I’d like to thank all those who trusted me with their deals and their clients, as well as my team for all their hard work and enthusiasm for what we do.” Rachel Turner, Head of Thames Valley Corporate, HCR Law

Finalists:

• Adam Dowdney – IBB Law LLP

• Robert Hayes – Osborne Clarke

• Mark Metcalfe – Gateley Legal

• Robert Rice – HCR Law

• Sanjeev Sharma – Shoosmiths

• Nina Smith – Shoosmiths

Law Firm of the Year sponsored by ThinCats

Winner: HCR Law

“It’s been a challenging year but we have had a steady deal flow throughout. Deals might have taken longer to do and been a little more difficult but the pipeline has been strong. The number of referrals we get from the local professional community has been fantastic. We have recruited new people and brought them on by schooling them in our business ethos in anticipation of our workload increasing. We think there are all sorts of reasons to be optimistic about the deal flow next year, even though the economy might not be that strong.” Robert Rice, Partner, HCR Law

Finalists:

• BDB Pitmans

• Gateley Legal

• Herrington Carmichael

• IBB Law LLP

• Osborne Clarke

• Shoosmiths

Corporate Finance Team of the Year sponsored by IBB Law LLP

Winner: BDO LLP

“The last 12 months have been difficult and we have focused very much on sectors we are strong in and have had some good client results. We’ve stuck to what we are good at, have a really good team and also do a lot of research and business development. Deal highlights include working with clients in the airline and automotive sectors on complicated global transactions. A lot of our work comes through referrals, so the Thames Valley dealmaking community is our lifeblood.” Duncan Lamb, Corporate Finance Partner, BDO LLP

Highly Commended: James Cowper Kreston

Finalists:

• FRP Corporate Finance

• Grant Thornton

• HMT LLP

• KPMG

• PwC

Bank of the Year sponsored by HCR Law

Winner: Shawbrook

“As a specialist lender, our strategy is to get under the skin of the management team involved in the deal and really understand them. The deals we work on are sometimes ones that the bigger banks have moved away from. Relationships with business owners are important to us and we view what we do as providing a solution rather than a financial product. We are still seeing some post-Covid uncertainty but there are plenty of exit transactions taking place and the quality of business is shining through, despite the economic environment.” Oliver Sutton, Director, Shawbrook

Finalists:

• HSBC UK

• NatWest

• Santander

Young Dealmaker of the Year sponsored by Shawbrook

Winner: Jack Griggs – James Cowper Kreston

“This was a big surprise to win in a very strong field. We had a very successful first quarter of the year, which brought in a lot of new work. I worked on the Urban Planters investment by Rentokil deal which was complicated as it involved 10 separate shareholders, so there were 10 opinions to talk to and keep happy. We took a very proactive approach. For me, the key reward on deals is being able to help business owners, often when they choose to exit, and helping them sell, step back and retire.” Jack Griggs, Senior Manager, James Cowper Kreston

Finalists:

• Ed Elliott – Crowe U.K. LLP

• Madhavi Morjaria – FRP Corporate Finance

• Jonathan Oliver – Maven Capital Partners

• Liam Pursall – BGF

• Helen Villiers – YFM Private Equity

• James Walker – PwC

Corporate-to-Corporate Deal of the Year sponsored by BDB Pitmans

Winner: Andigestion Sale to Severn Trent Green Power

“This deal represents a good transaction for the green economy. Andigestion is about anaerobic digestion to produce renewable energy. It is part of the UK’s carbon zero agenda. We acted for Summerleaze, which is a local Maidenhead-based family business, with support from BP Collins. It was a strategic acquisition for Severn Trent Green Power, who were frontrunners in the deal from the beginning. For Summerleaze, the sale enabled them to realise capital to reinvest in their business. They felt Andigestion was a business that would benefit from new ownership and it was part of Severn Trent’s strategy to invest more in these types of business.” Mark Allen, Corporate Finance Partner, Crowe U.K. LLP

“It was a special deal because of its size and complexity, but also because it is in a sector in which BP Collins has longstanding experience – waste, recycling and renewables – while helping support the Government’s commitment towards net zero emissions. We were able to draw from the experience of our top-ranked (in Chambers and Legal 500 legal directories) Environment group in supporting Summerleaze, who we have represented for over 30 years,” Alex Zachary, Corporate and Commercial Partner, BP Collins LLP

Finalists:

• Apollo Motor Group and Balgores Motors disposal to Steer Automotive

• Construction Industry Solutions (COINS) sale to The Access Group

• Karali Group sale to Burger King

• Norman Global Logistics sale to Janssen Group of Companies

• Urban Planters investment by Rentokil Initial

Small Deal of the Year sponsored by LDC and there are six finalists

Winner: MBO of Norwegian Log Homes

“We are delighted to have advised the shareholders on the disposal of their business to the management team. Mark and Nick wanted a good home for the business and were keen to pass it onto the management team. However, before meeting with HMT they weren’t aware that this could be facilitated through a private equity transaction. We worked closely with all stakeholders to identify a suitable investment partner to support a buyout led by Sales Director Ed Taylor Contracts Director Paul Williams. When the deal closed, both founders were able to exit the business in full to enjoy the fruits of their years of hard work. Ethos’ investment will support the future growth of the business and, as a result, the business will continue to be a major employer of skilled labour in the Thames Valley and will grow its teams outside of the region. We look forward to working with Ed and Paul again in the future when they look towards their own exit!” Ricky Lane, Director, HMT LLP

Finalists:

• Acquisition of Oxford ADHD

• Cardinality disposal to Elisa

• Manufacture 2030 Investment

• Matrix Electronics sale to Delta Impact

• MBO of SOS Leak Detection

Mid-range Deal of the Year sponsored by Crowe U.K. LLP

Winner: Andigestion sale to Severn Trent Green Power

“This deal represents a good transaction for the green economy. Andigestion is about anaerobic digestion to produce renewable energy. It is part of the UK’s carbon zero agenda. We acted for Summerleaze, which is a local Maidenhead-based family business, with support from BP Collins. It was a strategic acquisition for Severn Trent Green Power, who were frontrunners in the deal from the beginning. For Summerleaze, the sale enabled them to realise capital to reinvest in their business. They felt Andigestion was a business that would benefit from new ownership and it was part of Severn Trent’s strategy to invest more in these types of business.” Mark Allen, Corporate Finance Partner, Crowe U.K. LLP

“It was a special deal because of its size and complexity, but also because it is in a sector in which BP Collins has longstanding experience – waste, recycling and renewables – while helping support the Government’s commitment towards net zero emissions. We were able to draw from the experience of our top-ranked (in Chambers and Legal 500 legal directories) Environment group in supporting Summerleaze, who we have represented for over 30 years,” Alex Zachary, Corporate and Commercial Partner, BP Collins LLP

Finalists:

• Sale of OnePLM

• Dynamic Planner investment by FPE Capital LLP

• Intralink investment from Mobeus Equity

• Linstol sale to Hoffmann Family of Companies

• MBO of Leading Resolutions by NVM Private Equity

• Vuealta Applications Division partial disposal to Anaplan

Large Deal of the Year sponsored by BizNews

Winner: LDC’s exit and reinvestment in FSP

“LDC has been on a very successful journey with FSP since our initial investment in December 2020. The company continues to outperform its market and we are proud to have been part of the exciting journey to date. CEO Simon Grosse has not only delivered phenomenal rates of growth, he also created an exceptional people-first culture which is the catalyst to the business's success. LDC was naturally keen to reinvest in FSP alongside CBPE to continue to support FSP’s future growth and acquisition strategy.” Chris Baker, Investment Director, LDC

Finalists:
• Apollo Motor Group and Balgores Motors disposal to Steer Automotive

• Logiq Consulting investment by Phoenix Equity Partners

• Ridge & Partners investment from Horizon Capital

• Sale of Xtrac by Inflexion to MiddleGround Capital

• Select Car Leasing investment by Mobilize Financial Services

David Murray Outstanding Contribution of the Year Sponsored by The Business Magazine
Winner: Duncan Lamb – BDO LLP

“I am very flattered to win this award. I have worked in the Thames Valley for a long time, as had David. What he built for the region is absolutely amazing, not just for the Thames Valley dealmaking community but also for the private equity community in London. They come here because they know the Thames Valley is really important and these awards aren’t just an event, they are THE event. It is the networking event we all love to come to and that’s down to David.” Duncan Lamb, Corporate Finance Partner, BDO LLP

Finalists:

• Tim Armstrong - PwC

• Simon Davies - FRP Corporate Finance

• Adam Dowdney - IBB Law LLP

• Wendy Hart - HMT LLP

• David Wrench - YFM Private Equity


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