Applegreen takes majority stake in Welcome Break

Irish petrol forecourt operator Applegreen has agreed to buy a 55% majority stake in Welcome Break for €361.8m (£321.3m). The acquisition constitutes a reverse takeover and significantly expands Applegreen’s motorway service network. Welcome Break generated revenue of £723.4m and EBITDA of £66.4m in 2017. It operates 24 motorway service areas, two trunk road service areas and 29 hotels across 35 locations in the UK. It has approximately 85 million customers a year and employs over 5,000 people.

In tandem with this deal, Applegreen has entered into a separate conditional agreement with Welcome Break’s remaining shareholder AIP, to sell it an 8.6% stake in Welcome Break for €56.5m (£50.2m). Under these terms, Applegreen will be responsible for Welcome Break’s strategy and operations, share governance with AIP, and transfer its existing UK service area assets to Welcome Break in return for a further £120m in equity. Meanwhile, AIP will invest a further £80m into Welcome Break. If this deal is completed Applegreen should end with a 50.1% stake in the company.

Yusen Logistics UK has acquired e-commerce delivery and fulfilment specialist ILG. Founded in 1990, ILG is a fast-growing market leader in e-commerce warehousing, fulfilment and delivery, with specific expertise in the fashion and beauty verticals. ILG currently manages over 175,000 sq ft of warehousing, employs more than 200 people and serves over 700 clients worldwide. The 12% revenue growth that results from this addition pushes Yusen Logistics close to becoming a UK top 10 logistics provider.

Equistone-owned marketing technology and services business Inspired Thinking Group has acquired tech-driven marketing agency Connect. Headquartered in Wolverhampton, Connect also has offices in Birmingham and London and employs 200 people. Its longstanding clients include Birmingham Airport and Jaguar Land Rover. The deal allows ITG to make a full-service proposition, utilising Connect’s experience in data, insight and technology crafting creative advertising and digital campaigns.

International law firm Withers has bought 40-person boutique law firm JAG Shaw Baker. The deal sees the establishment of Withers tech, a new legal offering targeted at entrepreneurs, investors and technology companies. Withers tech will aim to create a global model for JAG Shaw Baker’s success in the European tech and life sciences market. It will have offices in Cambridge and London.

Nexus Vehicle Rental has been acquired by Phoenix Equity Partners for £142m. The deal represents a 3x return for Bowmark Capital, which bought the firm for £51m in 2015. The B2B rental vehicle broker is a tech-driven business providing corporate customers with access to more than 550,000 vehicles across 2,000 locations nationwide. Nexus reported its fourth consecutive year of double-digit profit and turnover growth earlier in the year.

Leed-based digital marketing agency Branded3, part of St Ives Group, has merged with fellow agency Edit. The deal brings together Edit’s expertise in CRM, data, tech and media and Branded3’s SEO and content marketing knowledge. Edit CEO Damian Coverdale will head the agency with Branded3’s CEO Tim Grice taking the role of chief media officer. The combined firm has 265 staff posted across offices in Bath, Leeds and London.

HP Inc has agreed a £380m deal with Equistone Partners for office equipment dealer Apogee Corporation. The deal expands HP’s managed print services and provides access to increased profit pools from higher margin services. Apogee will continue to operate independently under its current CEOs Jason Collins and Robin Stanton-Gleaves, although with a governing board comprised of both HP and Apogee management.

Private equity firm Exponent has taken over Dennis Publishing, a London and New York-based media stable attracting 50 million readers and selling over 2.5m magazines a month. Dennis Publishing’s portfolio consists of 30 brands covering four main areas of focus: current affairs, technology, automotive and special interest. Its flagship title is The Week, a digest of the best articles from international news media in the past seven days.

2 Sisters Food Group has sold its loss-making red meat division to Irish group Kepak. The business employs around 1,700 people at four production sites in Bodmin, Merthyr Tydfil, Portlethen and Victoria as well as a cold store facility in Truro. 2 Sisters also sold its Goodfella’s and San Marco frozen pizza brands earlier in the year.

Remote Medical International has announced the acquisition of HSE Offshore. The deal expands its oil and gas offshore medical capabilities in Europe and Africa, particularly in the North Sea. HSE Offshore will retain its 100 staff and continue to operate under the same name.

Yusen Logistics UK acquires ILG

Yusen Logistics UK has acquired e-commerce delivery and fulfilment specialist ILG. Founded in 1990, ILG is a fast-growing market leader in e-commerce warehousing, fulfilment and delivery, with specific expertise in the fashion and beauty verticals. ILG currently manages over 175,000 sq ft of warehousing, employs more than 200 people and serves over 700 clients worldwide. The 12% revenue growth that results from this addition pushes Yusen Logistics close to becoming a UK top 10 logistics provider.

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Inspired Thinking Group acquires Connect

Equistone-owned marketing technology and services business Inspired Thinking Group has acquired tech-driven marketing agency Connect. Headquartered in Wolverhampton, Connect also has offices in Birmingham and London and employs 200 people. Its longstanding clients include Birmingham Airport and Jaguar Land Rover. The deal allows ITG to make a full-service proposition, utilising Connect’s experience in data, insight and technology crafting creative advertising and digital campaigns.

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Withers and JAG Shaw Baker create Withers tech

International law firm Withers has bought 40-person boutique law firm JAG Shaw Baker. The deal sees the establishment of Withers tech, a new legal offering targeted at entrepreneurs, investors and technology companies. Withers tech will aim to create a global model for JAG Shaw Baker’s success in the European tech and life sciences market. It will have offices in Cambridge and London.

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Bowmark Capital sells Nexus Vehicle Rental for £142m

Nexus Vehicle Rental has been acquired by Phoenix Equity Partners for £142m. The deal represents a 3x return for Bowmark Capital, which bought the firm for £51m in 2015. The B2B rental vehicle broker is a tech-driven business providing corporate customers with access to more than 550,000 vehicles across 2,000 locations nationwide. Nexus reported its fourth consecutive year of double-digit profit and turnover growth earlier in the year.

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Marketing agencies Branded3 and Edit announce merger

Leed-based digital marketing agency Branded3, part of St Ives Group, has merged with fellow agency Edit. The deal brings together Edit’s expertise in CRM, data, tech and media and Branded3’s SEO and content marketing knowledge. Edit CEO Damian Coverdale will head the agency with Branded3’s CEO Tim Grice taking the role of chief media officer. The combined firm has 265 staff posted across offices in Bath, Leeds and London.

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HP seals £380m deal for Apogee Corporation

HP Inc has agreed a £380m deal with Equistone Partners for office equipment dealer Apogee Corporation. The deal expands HP’s managed print services and provides access to increased profit pools from higher margin services. Apogee will continue to operate independently under its current CEOs Jason Collins and Robin Stanton-Gleaves, although with a governing board comprised of both HP and Apogee management.

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Private equity firm Exponent buys Dennis Publishing

Private equity firm Exponent has taken over Dennis Publishing, a London and New York-based media stable attracting 50 million readers and selling over 2.5m magazines a month. Dennis Publishing’s portfolio consists of 30 brands covering four main areas of focus: current affairs, technology, automotive and special interest. Its flagship title is The Week, a digest of the best articles from international news media in the past seven days.

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2 Sisters Food Group sells red meat business to Kepak

2 Sisters Food Group has sold its loss-making red meat division to Irish group Kepak. The business employs around 1,700 people at four production sites in Bodmin, Merthyr Tydfil, Portlethen and Victoria as well as a cold store facility in Truro. 2 Sisters also sold its Goodfella’s and San Marco frozen pizza brands earlier in the year.

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Remote Medical International seals deal for HSE Offshore

Remote Medical International has announced the acquisition of HSE Offshore. The deal expands its oil and gas offshore medical capabilities in Europe and Africa, particularly in the North Sea. HSE Offshore will retain its 100 staff and continue to operate under the same name.

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Endless acquires Menzies Distribution

Mid-market private equity firm Endless has acquired Menzies Distribution from John Menzies in a £74.5m deal. The Edinburgh-based firm employs c. 3,700 people across 54 sites in the UK and Ireland. It provides final mile services, delivering more than 100m units each year and over 7m newspapers and magazines each day.

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