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.
Briggs Equipment has bought Irish Lift Trucks, a Dublin based dealer of Hyster forklifts, pallet stackers and other materials handling equipment. The acquisition of ILT consolidates Briggs Equipment’s position as a market leading Hyster dealer, and allows it to retain an EU presence while uncertainty in the UK economy lingers on.
Endless has backed a management buyout at Sewtec Automation, a £22m turnover robotics specialist based in Yorkshire. With exports making up 85% of its sales, Sewtec solves production and packaging challenges for companies in the food, pharmaceutical, personal care and tobacco sectors around the world. Endless cites the trend of increased automation in manufacturing as part of the rationale for their investment.
Stonegate Pub Company has beat out interest from Deltic Group to acquire Revolution Bars for £101.5m. Stonegate will acquire the entire issued share capital of Revolution Bars Group for 203p per share, a premium of 62% on its closing share price on 28 July. Headquartered in Luton, Stonegate is the fourth largest managed pubs company in the UK with 689 sites and 13,100 employees nationwide. Revolution Bars Group owns 68 establishments in towns and cities across the UK, focusing on students and young professionals with a premium drinks and cocktails offering.
Morson Group has acquired The Bridge (IT Recruitment) Limited. Morson is the UK’s leading technical recruiter and project management company, with a turnover in excess of £800m and a presence across the globe in sectors ranging through aerospace, defence, energy, infrastructure, IT, rail and oil & gas. The Bridge is based in Leeds and becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Morson Group with this deal.
Danish oil & gas group AP Moller has agreed to sell its oil exploration and production arm Maersk Oil to Total for $7.45bn. The acquisition is to be paid for entirely in shares, giving AP Moller a 3.75% stake in the French oil group. Maersk Oil employs 15,000 people and is the main operator in the Danish portion of the North Sea. Maersk Oil also manages several offshore installations and project developments in the UK; these include the Culzean gas development, of which it is the operator and holds a 49.9 % ownership. The company’s acquisition makes Total the second largest North Sea operator.
Manchester-based animation studio Factory plans to launch a brand licensing division following its acquisition of Rollo Rights. Rollo Rights is the owner of the children’s TV classic Mr Benn, as well as a host of other brands. The new rights ownership arm will be called Factory Rights and support Factory’s main studio production business.
International Process Technologies (IPT) has sold off two out of three of its businesses to American buyers. Axalta Systems in Philadelphia has acquired Plascoat Systems, an international leader in thermoplastic powders for the protective coating of metals and fabrics, while United Moulders, a designer and manufacturer of inflation devices for lifejackets, has been bought by New Jersey’s Drew Marine. The value of the deals has not been disclosed.