New home for JNC Construction Software

Construction, contracting and housebuilding software firm Eque2 has bought JNC Construction Software. Based in Birmingham, JNC provides construction accounting and job costing software products to over 400 businesses. The acquisition is Eque2’s second in six months since completing an MBO backed by LDC. With this latest deal Eque2 now employs more than 135 people and serves over 1,600 clients nationwide.

People 1st taken over by the Workforce Development Trust

The Workforce Development Trust has acquired strategic elements of skills and talent management firm People 1st, which went into administration in April. People 1st specialises in the hospitality, retail, passenger transport, travel and tourism sectors in the UK. With this deal it will continue to lead development work on new apprenticeship standards and act as an external quality assurance (EQA) body. The Workforce Development Trust owns similar not-for-profits such as Skills for Health, The National Skills Academy and Skills for Justice.

Crown Paints owner acquires German counterpart

Crown Paints owner Hempel Group has agreed to purchase a 65% stake in leading German paint manufacturer JW Ostendorf. Hempel has a strong presence in the coatings sector worldwide and will incorporate JWO into its decorating segment, aiming to bring it to parity with its Marine and Protective business areas. Hempel has described JWO as Europe’s ‘most modern paint manufacturer’ due to its eco-friendly water-based paints and highly automated production facilities.

Seneca exits Premier Technical Services Group

Seneca Partners has sold Premier Technical Services Group for a 3.6x return. Based in Castleford, PTSG operates in three segments: access and safety, electrical services, and high level cleaning. Its services include facade access equipment, lightning protection and electrical testing, and fire solutions. As of the end of 2017, the company had revenues of £53m and an adjusted EBITDA of £12.3m.

Kester Capital purchases pet retailer Jollyes

The UK’s second largest pet retailer Jollyes has been bought by mid-market private equity firm Kester Capital. Founded in 1935, Jollyes manages a portfolio of more than 70 UK superstores and concessions, housing a range of pet products including its own K9 and Lifestage brands.

Sandton Capital buys VVB Engineering

VVB Engineering, a specialist mechanical and electrical contractor, has been bought by Sandton Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum. Headquartered in Essex, VVB is a major contractor in the construction and maintenance of tunnels for the rail, road, airport, power and utilities sectors. The company employs more than 250 people and turns over £75m.

NorthEdge Capital backs Cutwel MBO

NorthEdge Capital has backed an MBO of engineering tooling supplier Cutwel. The firm has announced plans to double its headcount over the next four years and drive sales in the SME market. Founded in 1996, Cutwel operates from a 24,000 sq ft distribution facility in Cleckheaton and supplies precision cutting tools and machine accessories to the engineering sector across the UK and Ireland.

Sale Sharks owner acquires Cotton Traders

CorpAcq, the owner of Sale Sharks rugby club, has acquired Cotton Traders. The retailer plans to use investment to bolster its online business, expand overseas and launch new clothing and homeware ranges. Now 30 years old, Cotton Traders was founded by former England rugby players Fran Cotton and Steve Smith. In 2017, it recorded its best ever results with turnover at £86.7m (up 5.5%) and operating profit at £8.1m (up 5.2%). Cotton Traders delivers to over 25 countries and has over 120 stores in the UK.

Livingbridge checks in on largest ever deal for online travel agency

Private equity firm Livingbridge has acquired Loveholidays in a £180m deal, the largest ever for an online travel agency. Headquartered in London, Loveholidays offers short-haul beach holidays through a bespoke ‘discovery search’ web tool, allowing consumers to filter by attributes that matter most to them rather than necessarily starting with where and when. Founded in 2012, Loveholidays now employs 140 people and is the sixth largest ATOL holder. Livingbridge is an experienced investor in the sector with previous acquisitions including Enigma Travel, On the Beach and Travel Jigsaw.

ExamWorks UK acquires Kindertons Group

ExamWorks UK, a provider of medical report and rehabilitation services to the insurance and legal sectors, has agreed to buy Kindertons Group. The Cheshire-based business is a market leader in accident management and mobility. Its acquisition will create one of the largest and most diverse service providers to the insurance and legal sectors. The ExamWorks group has operations in the UK, US, Canada and Australia, 4,800 employees and global revenues of $1.2bn.