Deals round-up: Zeus double; PwC & more

ZEUS, the Manchester and London-based corporate finance and investment bank is bringing a challenger estate agency business, Purplebricks, to the AIM market.

Purplebricks, which describes itself as a “hybrid estate agency” is backed by a number of heavyweight business figures including former Capita boss Paul Pindar and Errol Damelin, founder of Wonga, the payday lender.

The company has raised £58.1m before expenses from an institutional placing and is expected to be admitted to AIM with a market capitalisation of £240.3m.
Zeus Capital is acting as the Company’s Nominated Adviser and Broker.
 Meanwhile Zeus’ healthcare team has advised Kind Consumer, an e-cigarette company on a £20m fundraising from Woodford Investment Management.

Kind Consumer has developed the UK’s first medically approved nicotine inhaler with the shape and feel of cigarette. The product, named Voke, will address the nicotine replacement therapy market as the only medically approved smoking cessation device available. Voke is expected to be launched in the UK towards the end of this year.

Dominic Wilson, head of healthcare sales said: “We are delighted to have been involved in Kind Consumer’s recent fundraising which is an important milestone for an extremely exciting company.  With the only medically approved product in what is an exciting market and with the support of a world class strategic investor, we are extremely excited about the future prospects for Kind Consumer and the up-coming launch of Voke.”


A TEAM from Shoosmiths advised South African company Truworths International  on the acquisition of an 88.9% stake in Scottish fashion footwear chain Office Retail in a £256m deal.

Shoosmiths was recommended to Truworths by leading South African law firm ENSafrica through global professional business network, the World Services Group (WSG).

Teams from across Shoosmiths’ range of commercial practice groups – including corporate teams in Manchester, Birmingham and Milton Keynes – were involved,

Manchester-based corporate partner, Kieran Toal, said: “It is a pleasure for us to advise Truworths on this globally significant acquisition and we very much appreciate being recommended as a law firm with strong retail expertise through the World Services Group.

“This has been a heavily partner-led transaction. Given this is Truworths’ first European acquisition and Office has such a large footprint, a number of our teams have been involved in working very hard to get this deal over the line. ”


A TEAM from PwC in Manchester advised private equity investor LivingBridge on its exit from Yorkshire-basedNexus Vehicle Rental, a corporate vehicle rental provider. LivingBridge’s majority share was acquired by Bowmark Capital.

Stuart Warriner, PwC’s North West corporate finance leader, said: ‘We are delighted to have worked with LivingBridge and Nexus’ high quality management team to deliver a fantastic outcome for the team that have transformed the business in recent years.

“This transaction further emphasises the strength of technology led businesses in the North and the appetite for private equity investment in the regions.”


UHY Hacker Young’s Manchester-based  automotive team has completed two deals in the space of a week, advising listed group Vertu on the acqusition of online parts retailer Who’s Ace Holdings for £2.2m and also the sale of Wokingham Motors Group to Eden Motor Group.

Partner David Kendrick said: “We are in a market that hasn’t been busier for transactional activity that is for sure.”


LAW firm Hill Dickinson and Cheshire accountany practice Phillip Bates & Co acted for the Heswall-based estate agency group Clive Watkin Partnership on the saler of the business to national chain Countrywide for an undisclosed sum.

Clive Watkin Partnership grew from a single office in Heswall in 1992 to nine residential sales offices, seven lettings and management offices and a land and new homes department covering Wirral, Liverpool and Sefton. The firm employs more than 90 people.

Phil Bates, principal of Neston-based Phillip Bates & Co, advised the firm on the sale, along with Sue Russell, a partner at Hill Dickinson in Liverpool.


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