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The Business Magazine May 2024
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ThinCats funds MBO of Thames Valley-based creative agency ONeill Modern Media

The Business Magazine article image for: ThinCats funds MBO of Thames Valley-based creative agency ONeill Modern Media
26 January 2022

ThinCats, the leading alternative lender to mid-sized SMEs has provided, independent, digital creative marketing agency ONeill Modern Media with funding to support a partial exit of the founding shareholders by way of a management buy out.

The transaction was advised by HMT Corporate Finance.

Slough-based OMM are an independent creative, technology & large format digital print agency that devise digital, technology and creative strategies, to produce outstanding experiential projects (including both VR and AR content), eye-catching motion graphics and in depth, cutting edge, consultancy for its blue-chip customer base across both sport and retail.

Founded in 1983, the business has 38 years of experience in the creative marketing industry and in the past 20 years has leveraged the management teams experience working with elite sports clubs and venues to exploit the rise in the deployment of technology within both sports stadia and retail environments, with a focus on the expanding digital-out-of-home market.

The longstanding senior management team, led by CEO Howard Campion and CFO Yousaf Ali, had the opportunity to lead an MBO from the founders. Funding from ThinCats included additional working capital to support the future growth of the business.

HMT acted as lead advisors to the management team which included assessing the strategic options, identifying suitable funding partners, negotiating detailed investment terms, newco structuring, financial modelling and project managing the deal to successful completion.

Howard Campion, OMM, commented: “HMT were mandated to find the right funding partner to support the management buyout of the company but also one that will allow OMM to accelerate its growth plans over the coming years.

"Andrew and Ricky spent time with us to understand OMM’s value proposition, our market position and the cash flow requirements of the business and ran a competitive process to optimise the funding terms.

"During the process they provided invaluable support and valuable commercial advice, both in terms of the fundraising and the negotiations with the exiting shareholders.

The management team are now fully aligned to take the business forward and we look forward to working with HMT again on future projects.”

Ricky Lane, Director at HMT commented: “We are delighted to have advised Howard, Yousaf and the management team on this transaction.

"OMM operate in an exciting niche of a growing market and, having successfully grown the business over the past 20 years, the funding structure provided by Thincats will allow Howard and the team to further capitalise on OMM’s industry leading position.

"We wish the team every success and look forward to working with them again on future transactions.”

Stuart Thompson, Director at ThinCats: “It is a pleasure to work with ambitious businesses like OMM and we are excited to support Howard, Yousaf and their experienced management team through their next phase of growth.

"We thank Ricky and the expert team at HMT for their diligence and collaborative approach and we look forward to working together on future funding.”



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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