Leading Veterinary Group sold by Bishopsgate Corporate Finance to US based Mars.


The team at Bishopsgate Corporate Finance led by James McBain Allan has advised the Shareholders of Davies Veterinary Specialists (“Davies”) on the successful cross border sale to Linnaeus, the UK division of Mars Petcare’s extensive Veterinary Health Group.

Davies Veterinary Specialists was established in 1995 to provide specialist referral services to the UK veterinary market. The business has since flourished under the founders and subsequent management teams and is now recognised as the leading veterinary hospital for small animals within the UK and one of the largest in Europe.

It will be business as usual at Davies for staff, pets and its referral network alike and it is an exciting time for both businesses as they look to the future.

Nat Whitley, Clinical Director at Davies Veterinary Specialists;

“We are delighted to be joining the Linnaeus Group of veterinary practices.  We look forward to sharing mutual expertise and support, as well as continuing to uphold the same values through our shared commitment to excellence and our promise to deliver outstanding care”

James McBain Allan, Director of Bishopsgate Corporate Finance and lead adviser commented;

“Davies is a typical example of Bishopsgate’s long term relationships with its clients, which has resulted in a fantastic result for the Davies shareholders. We have advised on the two previous Davies management buy-outs which ensured we became embedded in the business and were able to drive value for all 16 shareholders. This evidences the continued appetite for UK assets from overseas acquirers and I look forward to witnessing the continued success of Davies as part of the Linnaeus Group.”

MBO – Friend or Foe?

The scenario:

You are the controlling shareholder of a business operated by a successful and very credible management team.  One day your Managing Director approaches you and mentions the words “Management Buy-Out”.  Should you be on your guard or should you see this as an opportunity?

The issues:

 Immediately the following concerns race through your mind:

·       Is now the right time for me to give up control of the business?

·       Will the management team hold me to ransom on price?  What happens if they leave or join a competitor?

·       At least an MBO would mean that I don’t have to market the business to my competitors

·       But if I do not market the business how can I benchmark price?

·       Will I have to leave cash in?  Maybe I can still retain some equity?

·       Don’t MBO’s usually achieve a price at least 20% below what a trade buyer would pay?

·       Will the management team become distracted from running the business during the process?

·       Are the management team backable?  Will they be able to attract funding for the transaction?

·       Will I be able to speak to potential trade buyers whilst negotiating with the MBO team?

 In reality:

Don’t worry and don’t be put off.  There are many reasons why it might make sense for a vendor to sell to its management team.  The MBO is a very common exit route and these issues can be overcome.  Exit planning is key to addressing your concerns and discussing viable exit strategies on an ongoing basis with a credible corporate finance adviser such as Bishopsgate Corporate Finance is vitally important in order to achieve the best outcome for you and your business.  A well-managed MBO may well be the ideal exit solution!



Deal activity remains brisk despite Brexit uncertainties….

According to the latest set of year to date figures from Experian MarketIQ there were 5,137 deals announced during the first nine months of the year, a decline of 6.1% on the 5,470 transactions announced over the same period in 2017.

The third quarter saw just £46bn worth of deals announced involving a UK business, down from £144bn in Q1 and whether this is a temp blip remains to be seen. Certainly, the Bishopsgate team have seen a couple of projects delayed until the Spring 2019 as European and other overseas buyers hold fire until they get a clearer picture from Whitehall / Brussels. We do expect an M&A “bounce” once the Brexit cloud has lifted.

Deal activity across the Midlands continues to lag behind last year, with the total volume of 618 deals being just over 20% less than the 776 recorded at the same time last year. The Midlands contributed 12% of UK deal volume so far this year, making it the third most active UK region for deal making behind London and the South East. The Bishopsgate team have 4 deals completing before Xmas so we will be flying the flag for the region.