Fishawack looks for international deals after GCP buyout

FISHAWACK, a North West medical communications agency, has changed hands in a £13m secondary buyout.

The Cheshire and Oxfordshire-based company, which also has offices in Switzerland and the US, has been acquired by Growth Capital Partners.

The deal sees an exit by previous backer YFM Equity Partners, which has made a 2x return on its original investment.

London-based GCP’s investment will fund further planned international acquisitions.

Fishawack was founded in Knutsford in 2001 by Oliver Dennis and Dominic Miller and now has over 120 staff across its four offices. It provides medical communications services to 12 of the world’s top 20 largest global pharmaceutical companies.

The company’s turnover is more than £10m which has more than trebled since the original buyout in 2008.

The founders and senior executive colleagues managing director Gail Flockhart and operations director Rachel Davies will continue to lead the business.

GCP will take a majority stake in the business and GCP director Simon Jobson will take a seat on the board.

Mr Jobson, said: “Fishawack has achieved an impressive level of growth over the last few years and is now considered a leading medical communications business.

“Our flexible funding structure will support the business in its next phase of development as it looks to expand further internationally and we have the necessary hands on experience to drive the business forward through a buy and build strategy.”

Oliver Dennis, co-founder of Fishawack said: “We want to continue to build on our market leading position, increase our customer base and expand further internationally. GCP is well placed to help us achieve these goals.”

Paul Cannings, director at YFM Equity Partners added: “Through a buy and build strategy, we have supported three acquisitions in the UK, USA and Switzerland, trebling the size of the business. We wish Oliver, Dominic, Rachel and Gail much success as they continue their international acquisition strategy with the support of Growth Capital Partners.”

Corporate finance advice was provided by BDO Manchester’s Ruth Percival and James Fieldhouse, banking was led by Steve Jones at the Co-operative Bank.

Legal advisers to the Fishawack management team were Hill Dickinson: Craig Scott, Michael Murphy, Helen Penfold, while a team from Ward Hadaway advised GCP.

YFM Equity Partners was represented by law firm Osborne Clarke, while the Co-op bank was advised by Brabners Chaffe Street.  BDO also provided management tax and financial due diligence while commercial due diligence was completed by Frost & Sullivan and insurance due diligence by Marsh.