Friday High Five – highlights of the week

As we approach our Rainmakers conference just over a month away, never has it been more important to the regional economy to debate the enormous contribution that the corporate finance community can make.

When I spoke to Ruth Percival this week about the deal she led to form Contollo, starting with the acquisition of Abacus, it was clear she and Oliver Dennis have a clear drive and purpose to create a genuinely transformational business in a niche part of the region’s growing service sector.

That they are doing so, from the start, with the backing of private equity investor NorthEdge is also massively significant.

So too was the rescue of Yodel by more (hopefully) stable owners of that disruptive logistics brand than the Barclay family.

All eyes are now on the fate of Very Group, owners of Littlewoods, so important to Liverpool’s business heritage.

The publication of Experian’s data this week was no surprise to anyone. The big value deals of last year – Jim Ratcliffe’s move on Manchester United, Dechra’s take-private, Bruntwood SciTech’s refinancing, and the reverse takeover of CorpAcq – all topped £1bn, and masked a relative slowdown throughout the market.

Also skewing the North West numbers was the sale of EG’s forecourt’s business to Asda. 

Fascinating as the family drama of the Issa Brothers is, it also provided me with an opportunity to appear on Rosanna Lockwood’s show on TalkTV to discuss the latest twists and turns in their debt laden empire, and their of use of loans to buy two private jets.

I said it was “like Succession, but with petrol stations”, and that they are in serious danger of tarnishing their reputations through hubris.

It gave me no pleasure at all to say that. But I can confess to chuckling as I pressed send on the story about Matt Le Tissier’s promotions for gummy bears getting rapped by the regulator.

Have a great weekend. 

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