Developer builds for growth with private equity investment

Private equity investor Palatine has acquired a majority stake in Jessup, one of the Midlands’ largest developers of affordable homes.

Established for 34 years, Staffordshire-based has a 92-strong team which provides a full development management service from land acquisition and planning consent, through to the construction of residential stock.

It has preferred partner status with Homes England.

As part of the transaction, former Westleigh founder Chris Beighton, director Matt Moore and CFO Kathryn Facey have joined Jessup’s leadership team as chairman, CEO and non-executive director respectively.

Jessup founder Clive Jessup retains a stake in the business as founder director and the deal also sees Palatine partner Richard Thomas and investment director Tom Hustler join the board as non-executive directors.

Palatine invested in house builder Westleigh in 2016 before selling the business to Countryside.

Beighton and Moore bring a combined 50 years experience in the house building sector to Jessup’s leadership team and industry-leading expertise in modern methods of construction (MMC), having pioneered the adoption of timber frame construction in the affordable housing sector while part of Westleigh.

The investment, from Palatine’s Buyout Fund, provides Jessup with a solid platform for growth as it targets expansion into the East Midlands as well as continuing to develop its existing West Midlands operation. The business currently delivers approximately 500 homes per year and has diversified into mixed-use development for customers including the YMCA.

Richard Thomas, partner and head of Palatine’s Midlands office, said: “Clive and his team have grown Jessup into a trusted, valued and longstanding partner to housing providers in the Midlands with an enviable reputation for quality and delivery.

“With growing demand for affordable homes, our backing will enable Jessup to support more local authorities and registered providers as they seek to ease the housing crisis, further demonstrating the positive impact private equity can have on the economy and society.”

Clive Jessup, added: “The addition of Chris, Matt and Kathryn to our leadership team and the backing of an investor with an excellent track record in our market, marks the start of an exciting period of growth for Jessup, presenting new opportunities for our fantastic employees, suppliers and customers.

“Palatine have a deep understanding of our market and the expertise to further develop our already strong ESG credentials, at a time when this is of growing importance to our customers across the public and social housing sectors.”

Palatine was advised by Alantra (corporate finance), Browne Jacobson (legals), RSM (FDD) and CIL (CDD). Jessup was advised by Clearwater and Gateley.

Rob Burden, partner, clearwater International, said: “Jessup has an outstanding reputation in the region and with this further investment from Palatine, the business is well-positioned for continued growth in the marketplace. It was a pleasure to work with Clive and the team to secure a great result.

“After advising Westleigh on its deal with Palatine in 2016 and the sale to Countryside in 2018, we know the experience that Chris, Matt and Kathryn will bring to Jessup and we’re confident that they will complement the strong platform Clive has created. We’d like to wish the entire team all the best.”