Advent Venture and LDC oversee £72m merger

London-based VC firm Advent Venture Partners has sold part of its stake in Snell & Wilcox, a UK-headquartered technology company, in a £72m with Pro-Bel, a larger Reading-based rival owned by LDC.

Advent Venture has backed Snell since a £22m 2002 management buyout, and LDC has owned Pro-Bel since 2003, when it acquired a stake for £11m. The two firms now own just under 80% of the business, with management owning the remainder.

During Advent’s tenure, Snell & Wilcox, underwent reorganization, focused its strategy, and recruited a new management team. Advent GP Peter Baines said: “This is a classic Advent deal. With our ‘hands-on’ approach we have turned an established but undermanaged company into a bigger and more profitable business. We’ve worked closely with Simon Derry and his team who have transformed S&W and driven both growth and profitability.”

The new group has a combined turnover of around £80m and counts 450 staff members serving over 2,000 customers.

Both Snell & Wilcox and Pro-Bel operate in the areas of television broadcasting, in particular helping broadcasters which are making the switch to high-definition. The products of the two companies include digital routing, control, automation, signal distribution systems, production switchers and converters.

Kevan Leggett, managing director of LDC, said: “The move to digital and high definition broadcasting across a number of media platforms is creating strong opportunities for a business with the scale and reputation of the new entity. The ability of the enlarged group to develop new products from their combined bank of intellectual property offers significant revenue upside opportunities.”