Buyout value levels in region reach £126m

THE North West private equity market saw significant growth in the third quarter of 2015 as the value of buyouts rose to £126m, an increase of £46m on both Q2 and the equivalent quarter last year according to the Centre for Management Buyout Research.

The research, which is sponsored by Equistone Partners Europe, showed that the number of deals remained steady at six, the same number as Q2, but an increase from four in Q3 2014.

Despite the quarterly growth, the total value of buyouts this year is lower than that of previous years, with the £793m total behind the £927m during the same period in 2014.

The impressive figure this quarter was bolstered by the £50m buyout of Liverpool-based Wealth at Work by Equistone in August 2015, the first North West investment from Equistone’s Fund V.

Other notable deals included the £40m sale of Briefing Media Group by Kester Capital to Lyceum Capital, and the sale of Bright Blue Foods to NGBI. The exit market for private equity-backed businesses also remains buoyant, as evidenced by the recent IPO of On The Beach.

The North West was the second most active region in the UK this quarter, sitting only behind London in terms of the number of completed deals. Nationally, there was a total of 41 exits in Q3, totalling £5.328bn.

Steve O’Hare, partner at Equistone Partners Europe in the North of England, said: “These results show that there are businesses across the North West that offer very attractive prospects for investors and management teams looking to enhance their shareholdings in their business.

“We saw this first-hand, backing Wealth at Work last month, and with the recent raise of our new €2bn Fund V, we are continuing to look for quality businesses to invest in. The continuing strong performance of the North West is extremely encouraging, and we are likely to see this continue over the coming months.”