Bareface targets America and China with Invisible Artists acquisition

Birmingham-based advertising agency Bareface has acquired Invisible Artists, a global content production studio based in Sydney. With this deal Bareface aims to expand beyond its current Birmingham, London and New York offices into APAC and the west coast of America, where IA has projects ongoing with Facebook and Nielsen.

Taiwanese AV specialist Coretronic Corporation has acquired high-end image scaling and processing technology company Calibre. Based in Bradford, Calibre employs 30 people and will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coretronic. Coretronic is a supplier to the majority of the world’s Tier 1 DLP projector brands. The acquisition allows it to enter the rapidly expanding direct-view LED display markets, as well as further advancing in the proAV markets.

JCRA Group, a provider of hedging, financial risk and debt consultancy services, has completed a £13.6m MBO with backing from clients of Connection Capital. The company has secured £6.7m of investment which it plans to put towards maximising synergies, technological improvements and continued expansion in its existing areas of operation. Globally, JCRA is the second largest advisory firm in ‘Over the Counter’ (OTC) derivatives. The company sees potential for growth following several misselling scandals and a subsequent increase in regulation that has seen banks mostly retreat from the market.

Arrow Global has announced a proposed acquisition of Mars Capital’s UK & Irish mortgage servicing businesses, as well as a strategic partnership with Oaktree Capital Management. Mars Capital services over 10,000 customer accounts and has £1.6bn of assets under management. The £15.5m acquisition would rebalance Arrow Global’s portfolio towards capital-light asset management revenues as well as enabling its entry into the Irish market. Arrow Global’s partnership agreement with Oaktree meanwhile means the companies will acquire future UK and Irish residential mortgage portfolios together.

Smurfit Kappa has strengthened its operations in Russia with the acquisition of corrugated packaging company Soyuz. Based in Moscow, Soyuz employs 300 people and caters to a range of European markets with its paper and Bag-in-Box products.

Park Place Technologies has made its largest acquisition ever with the takeover of NCE Group, a global provider of third-party data centre maintenance and repair. The acquisition further boosts Park Place’s global client portfolio and European presence, following its recent acquisition of Prestige Data Centre Solutions in May. Headquartered in Wiltshire and with a major office in the US, NCE Group is a prominent player in the third-party maintenance and post-warranty enterprise hardware industry. The company will immediately begin integrating operations, channel partners, customers and its 280 employees with Park Place.

Canada Life Group has strengthened its UK presence with the acquisition of Retirement Advantage. Retirement Advantage has over 30,000 pension and equity release customers, and more than £2bn assets under management. The deal takes the number of annuity providers in the UK open market to just six.

Multinational advertising and PR group WPP has acquired Design Bridge, an award-winning brand design agency. Design Bridge has a client base that ranges from challenger brands to iconic global names such as AkzoNobel, Diageo, Mondelēz and Unilever. As well as a London HQ, Design Bridge has studios in Amsterdam, New York and Singapore. It raised revenues of £40m in the calendar year 2016. Design Bridge will continue to operate as a distinct and independently-positioned brand within the WPP group following the deal.

Rockpool Investments has invested £5m in a buy-in management buyout of workwear provider Wearwell. Established in 1939, Wearwell supplies workwear that ranges through chefs’ whites to lab coats and boiler suits. The deal sees Richard Wright, former vice president of international workwear business Kwintet, become Wearwell’s CEO.

HgCapital has sold Sequel Business Solutions, a services and software provider to Lloyd’s of London and the wider insurance market, to Verisk Analytics for £250m. Since procuring investment from HgCapital in 2014, Sequel has broadened its key Eclipse product to support a full range of complex risk activities, including risk aggregation, claims management and reinsurance. The company has also seen a compound revenue growth of 14% per annum and its customer numbers treble. Verisk is a US-based data analytics provider specialising in property/casualty insurance, natural resources and financial services. HgCapital has made £20.2m on the sale.

Bareface targets America and China with Invisible Artists acquisition

Birmingham-based advertising agency Bareface has acquired Invisible Artists, a global content production studio based in Sydney. With this deal Bareface aims to expand beyond its current Birmingham, London and New York offices into APAC and the west coast of America, where IA has projects ongoing with Facebook and Nielsen.

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Coretronic buys Bradford-based electronics display company Calibre

Taiwanese AV specialist Coretronic Corporation has acquired high-end image scaling and processing technology company Calibre. Based in Bradford, Calibre employs 30 people and will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coretronic. Coretronic is a supplier to the majority of the world’s Tier 1 DLP projector brands. The acquisition allows it to enter the rapidly expanding direct-view LED display markets, as well as further advancing in the proAV markets.

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Connection Capital backs JCRA Group MBO

JCRA Group, a provider of hedging, financial risk and debt consultancy services, has completed a £13.6m MBO with backing from clients of Connection Capital. The company has secured £6.7m of investment which it plans to put towards maximising synergies, technological improvements and continued expansion in its existing areas of operation. Globally, JCRA is the second largest advisory firm in ‘Over the Counter’ (OTC) derivatives. The company sees potential for growth following several misselling scandals and a subsequent increase in regulation that has seen banks mostly retreat from the market.

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Arrow Global plans entry into Irish market

Arrow Global has announced a proposed acquisition of Mars Capital’s UK & Irish mortgage servicing businesses, as well as a strategic partnership with Oaktree Capital Management. Mars Capital services over 10,000 customer accounts and has £1.6bn of assets under management. The £15.5m acquisition would rebalance Arrow Global’s portfolio towards capital-light asset management revenues as well as enabling its entry into the Irish market. Arrow Global’s partnership agreement with Oaktree meanwhile means the companies will acquire future UK and Irish residential mortgage portfolios together.

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Smurfit Kappa expands in Russia with Soyuz deal

Smurfit Kappa has strengthened its operations in Russia with the acquisition of corrugated packaging company Soyuz. Based in Moscow, Soyuz employs 300 people and caters to a range of European markets with its paper and Bag-in-Box products.

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Park Place Technologies acquires NCE Group

Park Place Technologies has made its largest acquisition ever with the takeover of NCE Group, a global provider of third-party data centre maintenance and repair. The acquisition further boosts Park Place’s global client portfolio and European presence, following its recent acquisition of Prestige Data Centre Solutions in May. Headquartered in Wiltshire and with a major office in the US, NCE Group is a prominent player in the third-party maintenance and post-warranty enterprise hardware industry. The company will immediately begin integrating operations, channel partners, customers and its 280 employees with Park Place.

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Canada Life takes over Retirement Advantage

Canada Life Group has strengthened its UK presence with the acquisition of Retirement Advantage. Retirement Advantage has over 30,000 pension and equity release customers, and more than £2bn assets under management. The deal takes the number of annuity providers in the UK open market to just six.

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WPP buys Design Bridge

Multinational advertising and PR group WPP has acquired Design Bridge, an award-winning brand design agency. Design Bridge has a client base that ranges from challenger brands to iconic global names such as AkzoNobel, Diageo, Mondelēz and Unilever. As well as a London HQ, Design Bridge has studios in Amsterdam, New York and Singapore. It raised revenues of £40m in the calendar year 2016. Design Bridge will continue to operate as a distinct and independently-positioned brand within the WPP group following the deal.

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Rockpool Investments backs BIMBO at Wearwell

Rockpool Investments has invested £5m in a buy-in management buyout of workwear provider Wearwell. Established in 1939, Wearwell supplies workwear that ranges through chefs’ whites to lab coats and boiler suits. The deal sees Richard Wright, former vice president of international workwear business Kwintet, become Wearwell’s CEO.

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HgCapital sells Sequel Business Solutions for £250m

HgCapital has sold Sequel Business Solutions, a services and software provider to Lloyd’s of London and the wider insurance market, to Verisk Analytics for £250m. Since procuring investment from HgCapital in 2014, Sequel has broadened its key Eclipse product to support a full range of complex risk activities, including risk aggregation, claims management and reinsurance. The company has also seen a compound revenue growth of 14% per annum and its customer numbers treble. Verisk is a US-based data analytics provider specialising in property/casualty insurance, natural resources and financial services. HgCapital has made £20.2m on the sale.

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