Deals community celebrates The Rainmaker Awards

THE WINNERS of The Rainmaker Awards were announced last night, as the region’s corporate finance community turned out in force to celebrate a year of outstanding deals.

Zeus Capital was a major winner after being at the epicentre of a number of successful IPOs on AIM including Bargain Booze, DX Group, 4d pharma and Boohoo.

The Manchester firm triumphed in the Corporate Finance Team and Prolific Team categories, while Richard Hughes, Zeus’ mercurial co-founder, took the prestigious title of Rainmaker of the Year after an overwhelming majority of votes from his peers. 

The Rainmaker of the Year recognises the community’s outstanding individual for leadership, vision and determination. More than 80 accountants, lawyers, bankers and private equity investors took part in an online vote to choose the winners.

Click here to see a picture gallery from The Rainmaker Awards.

Mr Hughes said: “Ultimately it’s about the people in the team, they do most of the work. It’s a real compliment to them. Also, thanks to John Hayhurst and Tim Raffle of ECI Partners for giving us the opportunity to work on Bargain Booze which showed the market was open.

“Boohoo, AO World and B&M Bargains are all massive North West success stories, supported by Manchester entrepreneurs and North West investors. Boohoo has been a long, hard journey but it’s an amazing success story. The team have created a business that’s a powerhouse in the fashion industry and will go to 100 international markets and we can all take pride in the part we played in that journey.”

He added: “Over the next six months we’re going to bring five quality people into the business and our pipeline is sensational. Between ourselves and Rothschild we can help the region go to another level.”

NM Rothschild’s Manchester office also had an evening to remember. Director Bod Buckby collected the award for the Public Markets Deal of the year, having advised on the £1.5bn IPO of Bolton-based online retailer AO World.

The team also advised The University of Manchester on its successful £300m bond issue in July 2013, which won the Non-Traditional Deal.

DLA Piper saw off stiff competition from Addleshaw Goddard and Pinsent Masons to win in the Legal Team category.

ECI Partners was another double winner – sharing the VC/Private Equity Firm title along with Palatine Private Equity after a tied-vote.

The firm also won the Private Equity Exit of Year for its disposal of Bargain Booze, the Cheshire-based off licence chain. ECI made a 4.5x money multiple on its full exit from Bargain Booze when its parent company, Conviviality Retail, floated on AIM in July 2013, a deal led by Zeus Capital.

Corporate finance boutique Rickitt Mitchell and law firm Eversheds collected the M&A Deal of the Year after advising on the £49m sale of Fredericks Dairies to Yorkshire-based rival R&R Ice Cream.

Law firm Squire Sanders and DC Advisory collected the International Deal award after acting on the £100m acquisition by Nasdaq-listed US group Cardtronics of Cheshire-based ATM services provider Cardpoint.

Sponsored by, Clarion Wealth Planning, law firm Mills & Reeve and recruitment firm Watson Moore, The Rainmaker Awards was a joint venture between and Out There Events.

More than 350 people attended the event at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester hosted by comedian Justin Moorhouse.

Chris Barry, editor of, said: “The Rainmaker Awards was a fantastic celebration of the region’s corporate finance community. The shortlist was incredibly strong and congratulations are due not only to the winners, but to everyone who took part.”

Marcie Incarico, managing director of Out There Events added: “We have been delighted to be part of this exciting inaugural event and look forward not only to next year’s awards but rolling out The Rainmakers in to other regions.”