In brief mid-market

ECI Partners, the mid-market buyout firm, acquired Taylor Continental Holdings, the market leader in the manufacture and supply of trade waste containers in the UK. The buyout is backing a new management team including Ross Ancell as chairman and Peter Selkirk as CEO. Ancell has previous experience in the sector at Churngold, while ECI has formerly backed Selkirk as CEO of Texon. Alden Taylor, the grandson of the founder of the company, is remaining with the business as operations director, and Colin Lewis joins as financial director. The company had turnover of £22.6m in 2004.

  • The Music Group, a portfolio company of Rutland, has completed the sale of its Buffet Crampon clarinet business for €37m. Following a competitive sale process, the business has been sold in a secondary buyout to Argos Soditic, a French private equity house. Music Group was formed to acquire the music instrument manufacturing business of Boosey & Hawkes for £33.2m in February 2003. The sale of the Buffet Crampon related businesses completes the latest stage in its restructuring and follows the disposal in 2004 of Rico Holdings for US$22.2m.The deal was co-ordinated on behalf of Rutland by Nick Morrill and Ben Slatter.
  • Media group SMG recruited a new boss for its Virgin Radio business, the subject of interest from private equity group 3i. Former Capital Radio group sales director Fru Hazlitt has been appointed as chief executive of Virgin Radio and its sister stations. SMG rejected a £100m bid from 3i for Virgin earlier this year. That was made in conjunction with UK peer Lord Alli, the chairman of entertainment rights group Chorion. SMG said that Hazlitt’s appointment demonstrated the strength and value of the Virgin brand. Chorion and 3i have not ruled out approaching shareholders in Virgin directly.
  • Sun Capital Partners, the US-based private equity firm, is continuing its investment in Europe with the €45m acquisition of Lee Cooper Group, the jeans brand. Formerly a wholly owned subsidiary of Matalan, Lee is headquartered in London and has sales operations in Belgium and France, as well as a manufacturing facility in Tunisia. “This is the third portfolio company that Sun Capital affiliates have acquired in Europe in the last 18 months and reflects the breadth of our transaction capabilities and our confidence in European private equity activities,” said Marc Leder, co-CEO of Sun Capital. Previous investment in Europe comprises Hunnebeck Group, a Duesseldorf-based provider of highly-engineered formwork and scaffolding equipment, and Nexia, a chilled transportation company located in Paris.