• LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds TSB, has paid £40m (€55.8m) for a significant minority stake in GVA Grimley, a UK commercial property consultancy. The investment comes as part of a financial restructuring in which GVA Grimley will convert from being a limited liability partnership into a limited company. RBS and Barclays provided an acquisition finance package and working capital facilities.
GVA Grimley is the seventh-largest commercial property consultancy in the UK in terms of revenues. It provides a range of property-related advice, consultancy and transactions services. In the year to April 30 2007, the business generated total revenues of £148m and it has more than 1,200 staff in 12 regional offices.
• Tragus, a chain of restaurants owned by US-based private equity firm Blackstone Group, has hired Goldman Sachs and Citi to advise on a potential flotation. It is reported that Tragus is considering a potential £500m IPO in the new year. Blackstone bought Tragus for £267m in November 2006 from UK mid-market firm Legal & General Ventures. Close Brothers and Citi advised LGV on the sale after initial explorations of a flotation. Prior to LGV, Tragus, which operates the Café Rouge, Bella Italia and Ortega chains, was owned by ECI Partners.
• ISIS Equity Partners has invested in On the Beach, an online retailer of beach holidays. Established by Simon Cooper in 2004, On the Beach provides consumers with a selection of flights and more than 30,000 hotels from which to choose and build their own holidays on-line.
Working with ISIS, Cooper has appointed John Donaldson and David Scowsill as non-executive directors and Geoff Wood as finance director. ISIS and Cooper plan to grow the business further through the addition of hotel and air content and expansion into new products. The investment was led by Andy Gregory, Daniel Smith and James Titmuss of ISIS. Daniel Smith and Adam Holloway of ISIS will take seats on the board of On the Beach.
• Funds managed by growth investor Buchanan Capital Partners acquired a minority stake through a capital increase in sailing boat manufacturer Dehler, located in Sauerland, which is well known as the home of the many famous German mid-sized companies. The formerly largest Germany shipyard for sailing yachts intends to accelerate the growth achieved in the past years. Dehler produces attractive, high-end sailing yachts targeted at the sportive sailor.
The investment in Dehler is a pure growth financing. Buchanan Capital Partners contributes equity to the company as a minority investor in order to support the aspiring growth strategy of the CEO and main shareholder, Wilan van den Berg. Van den Berg will continue to be the majority shareholder of Dehler. He took over the company two years ago and successfully managed to transform the business into a “high-end” manufacturer in the sector of performance cruising yachts.
Sales increased from about €10m to €30m this year. The number of employees has surged from 80 in 2005 to more than 150. Buchanan Capital Partners manages funds that invest in profitable, high-growth companies in the German-speaking region.