BGF’s North West team leads on deals with an enterprise value of £450m

Neil Inskip

Growth capital investor, BGF, has led on deals with a total enterprise value (EV) of £450m in the North West in six months.

In the same period, BGF’s North West team has delivered a stand-out run of exits which has seen £150m of capital returned from £72m invested.

Highlights include the sale of Liverpool-based Sentric to Swiss music fintech company, Utopia Music, PTSG’s acquisition of NSS, and CurrentBody’s sale to eComplete.

This is in addition to the outstanding exit of Kids Planet, having accelerated the nursery group’s roll-out from 17 to more than 80 sites during its investment period.

BGF also retained minority stakes in Kids Planet and Utopia Music as it continues as a long term partner to both companies.

BGF completed a total £42m of investment in growing businesses based in the North West in six months.

These entrepreneur-led companies span several sectors including tech, manufacturing, professional services, healthcare and training, and are based across all corners of the region.

The North West team backed apprenticeship training provider Apprentify with a £5m investment to execute an ambitious buy and build strategy in the apprenticeship and adult education market.

Wigan-based manufacturer, Evolution Aqua, received a £12m BGF investment to capitalise on growth opportunities in core markets and drive international expansion. Alongside Gresham House Ventures, BGF also announced a £10m investment into Panthera Biosciences to further grow its network of dedicated clinical trial sites across the UK and Western Europe.

The combined EV across these investments and exits at the time of completion reached £450m.

Neil Inskip, head of BGF in the North West and Midlands, said: “We consistently meet quality business owners in the region looking to scale their businesses and work towards long term growth and a successful exit.

“Our recent run of investments has unlocked opportunities for innovation and product development, international and vertical market expansion, investment in tech and talent, as well as boosting balance sheets for management teams looking to capitalise on growth opportunities such as M&A.”

He added: “Alongside positive new investments, we’re also seeing a strong performance across our portfolio in the region as we continue to work with management teams to deliver growth. We’ve experienced an exceptional period of returns from recent exits in the region, which is testament to the strength of the businesses we back in the North West and BGF’s investment model.”

This news comes on the back of recently published annual results for BGF in the UK and Ireland which marked a record-breaking year for the business as a whole in 2021.

As well as maintaining its position as the most active investor in UK and Irish growth economy companies, BGF backed 67 new companies, investing a total of £600m. £165m of this was follow-on funding to support further growth for portfolio companies, which is a key part of its longer term offer to entrepreneurs.

Nationally, BGF exited investments in 39 businesses, delivering a total return of £571m from exits in 2021 – up from £233m in 2020 – a 2x money multiple and a 23.4% gross IRR.

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