Bishopsgate advise the UK’s leading child day camp specialist, Barracudas, on development capital investment

Barracudas is the UK’s largest operator of activity day camps providing the highest quality in care and enrichment for children aged between 4.5 years and 14 years old.

The business has grown significantly since the opening of its first camp over 25 years ago and now cares for over 30,000 children every year across 42 locations.

The investment will allow founder and Managing Director Neil Greatorex and the Management Team to accelerate growth through increasing national footprint giving more parents and children access to one of the UK’s leading childcare providers.

Neil Greatorex, Managing Director said: “We’ve enjoyed the process and feel that the deal works well for all parties. We feel confident about future growth and development under this structure, it offers opportunities for key staff and at a personal level feels both right and timely. The BCF team have shown rigour and discipline but have been personable and reasonable throughout. At a board level I expect the investors to add significant value.”

The Bishopsgate Corporate Finance team was led by James McBain Allan.

James McBain Allan, Director said: “I enjoyed working with Neil and the Management Team and they must be congratulated on building an exceptional business. This deal again emphasises the quality of businesses we have here in the East Midlands and I look forward to witnessing the continued growth of Barracudas over the coming years.”

The Nottingham office of Allied Irish Bank (GB) (AIB (GB)) supported the transaction working alongside Bishopsgate CF and the Barracudas management team.  Dale Cowdell, who led for AIB (GB) added, “We were delighted to support the transaction and, having reviewed the proposal and met the people behind it, we were quick to deliver full credit approval helping towards a timely completion.  We look forward to seeing this business succeed and grow further in the years to come”.

Advisors included Bishopsgate Corporate Finance (vendor CF), Greenwoods (vendor legals), Thomas Quinn (vendor tax) and Browne Jacobson (investor legals). AIB GB legal advice was provided by Shakespeare Martineau and Mazars provided Financial Due Diligence to the investors.          

 Bishopsgate Corporate Finance is one of the UK’s longest established corporate finance boutiques focused on providing lead advisory services to businesses valued between £2m and £50m. Founded in 1996, Bishopsgate has since advised on over 200 transactions with a total value in excess of £1.5 billion. Our clients include owner managed businesses, private equity backed companies and fully listed PLCs

The Bishop comments on 'Exports driving the East Midlands Economy'.

Exports in the East Midlands rose by more than 20% in 2017 according to the latest figures published by HMRC. The national picture revealed that exports from England rose by 11.6% to £244 billion but the East Midlands was one of the bright spots in the UK outstripping the national average.

The East Midlands is home to over 10,000 exporters and the figures show an encouraging dynamism in our local economy with our regional companies taking advantage of the fall in sterling following Brexit. Our Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox commented that “the UK is entering a period of unprecedented economic opportunity and the surge in exports adds up to a positive picture for the British economy”.

This is certainly good news for the East Midlands and flies in the face of some of the gloomy economic forecasts we have received from the Bank of England. When asked about the figures the Bishop commented - “I expect UK growth to remain modest at 1.5% in 2018 but I am confident that the East Midlands will show higher growth as it picks up the mantle from the South East and continues to benefit from the competitive value of the pound against the euro. With Jeremy Corbyn and his fellow comrade John McDonnell looming in the background we are seeing high levels of M&A activity with baby boomers choosing to bring their exit plans forward rather than risk a socialist government”.

It pays to have a corporate finance advisor on your side

Business owners are frequently approached by trade buyers looking to expand their groups and many owners try and negotiate deals without using a corporate finance advisor.  The trade buyer has probably bought many businesses before and they know they know all the tricks in the book whilst the owner manager is probably selling their business for the first time. Well that’s the time to pick the phone up to a corporate finance advisor, someone who does M&A for a living.  Trust me it pays to have a corporate finance advisor in your corner.

Private equity houses buy and sell businesses for a living, yet they always use the service of an experienced corporate finance advisor. Here’s why:-

  • There is potential that the advisor may be able to increase the price by introducing other potential buyers and create some competitive tension.
  • Selling a business is very time consuming – the owner needs to concentrate on running their business.
  • Providing the right information in the right way (“the spin”) is key to a successful sale.
  • Corporate finance advisors are skilled negotiators – they know when to push and when to pull.
  • Corporate finance advisors can play the hardmen when the going gets tough, allowing principals to remain on good terms.
  • Appointing a corporate finance advisor enhances the professionalism. It keeps the buyers on their toes and the project on time.
  • Corporate financiers see deal breakers coming and have the experience on how to deal with them.
  • Corporate financiers are cost effective – they are success led and will charge the majority of their fee on completion of the project.