Aberdeen Murray Johnstone Private Equity (AMJPE), led by Jonathan Diggines, is in discussions to acquire the business in a management buyout from the Aberdeen group, of which Murray Johnstone became a part in 2000.
Diggines and his team are rumoured to be in negotiations to acquire the English operations of AMJPE, which includes around £250m of managed funds from the group’s Birmingham, Leeds, London and Manchester offices. The Scottish team led by Hugh Little and Bill Nixon will manage the remaining £120m.
Diggines joined Scottish fund manager Murray Johnstone in 1989 opening their Manchester office and was appointed a director of Murray Johnstone Private Equity Limited in 1990, of Murray Johnstone Limited in 1993 and of Murray Johnstone Holdings in 1997. On January 1, 1998, he was appointed managing director of Murray Johnstone Private Equity. Since December 2000, he has been responsible for the combined private equity businesses of Murray Johnstone and Aberdeen Asset Management; Aberdeen Murray Johnstone Private Equity.
In 2000 Aberdeen Asset Management saw off a pack of ten bidders in a two-month battle to buy rival Murray Johnstone from South African financial services major Old Mutual with a bid in the region of £150m. Aberdeen Asset Management was keen to buy Murray Johnstone, in particular for its private equity operations.
AMJPE currently arranges equity finance for expansions, MBOs, MBIs, acquisition finance, refinancing bank debt, rescue/turnaround, secondary purchase/replacement capital and, occasionally start-ups.
The group invests in a wide range of industry sectors, focusing on the UK regions seeking to invest equity amounts of between £500,000 to £15m in small and medium sized transactions in the UK, up to an enterprise value of £50m.
The AMJPE private equity team has 22 investment executives and 10 portfolio management executives working from seven regional offices in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Glasgow, Inverness, Leeds, London and Manchester.