Vp acquires Brandon Hire

Vp plc has capped a busy year in the M&A market with the purchase of Brandon Hire Group Holdings. Vp has acquired Brandon Hire and its subsidiaries for a cash consideration of £41.6m and £27.2m of assumed net debt, which has been funded from new banking facilities from the group’s lenders. Brandon Hire is a major national tool and equipment hire business with over 900 employees posted across 143 locations nationwide. Brandon Hire’s extensive customer base, primarily focused in SMEs, complements Vp’s own specialist tool hire business Hire Station.

SSE plc has reached an agreement with Innogy regarding a proposed demerger of SSE’s household energy and services business in Great Britain (SSE Retail) and combination with npower. The merger would create a company serving around 11.5 million customer across Great Britain, and shrink the big six to a big five. Causing controversy in some quarters, the deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close late in 2018.

Powerstar, a market leading voltage optimisation and energy storage brand, has acquired Bromsgrove Winding Services, a bespoke manufacturer of OEM power and distribution transformers. This move enables Powerstar to futureproof against major reforms upcoming in the energy industry.

Peppermint Soda, a Manchester-based marketing communications agency, has bought creative consultancy Forever Creative for an undisclosed fee. The deal is Peppermint’s first acquisition, designed to strengthen its digital, design and creative offering to the education, food, healthcare, manufacturing and public sectors. Forever’s team will join Peppermint at its Hale headquarters, with MD Jane Hudson becoming client services director.

Aquila BioMedical has been acquired by private equity-backed drug development and analytical services company Concept Life Sciences. Spun out of the University of Edinburgh, Aquila is a pre-clinical contract research business specialising in immuno-oncology, immunology and multiplex histology. Aquila expects to profit from Concept’s size and business development network as it seeks further growth.

LDC has backed a management buyout of construction software specialist Eque2. Eque2’s software enables more than 1,400 builders, contractors, architects, engineers and estimators to integrate the commercial and financial aspects of their business, driving efficiencies and in turn improving profitability. This multi-million-pound deal will be used to invest in the firm’s buy and build programme as well as funding the simultaneous acquisition of Miracle Dynamics Payroll and HR Solution.

SysGroup has bought managed IT, hosting and security services company Rockford IT for £3.9m. SysGroup is one of the UK’s fastest growing managed IT services and cloud hosting providers. This latest acquisition is its sixth in the last three years, taking its workforce to over 100 as well as extending its market reach into vertical sectors such as hotels and leisure.

Aviva has agreed to buy Irish insurer Friends First Life Assurance Company for £116m. Friends First has over 250,000 customers, a market share of 6% and is a market leader in group risk and income protection. The deal makes Aviva one of the largest composite insurers in Ireland, increasing its market share to 15% in this category. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to go through in the first quarter of 2018.

Managing general agent the Nexus Group has acquired Credit Risk Solutions. CRS is a trade credit broker operating from offices in Birmingham, Halifax and Manchester. This is the fourth acquisition Nexus has completed this year, further strengthening and diversifying its broking offering. CRS will retain its independence from Nexus’s underwriting operations following completion of the deal.

Global investor Permira has bought Duff & Phelps for £1.3bn. Duff & Phelps is a corporate finance firm headquartered in London. It has three offices in the UK, and employs over 2,000 people across 70 sites worldwide. Permira’s acquisition sees the exit of investors that include The Carlyle Group, Neuberger Berman, the University of California’s Office of the Chief Investment Officer of the Regents and Pictet & Cie.

SSE and npower test regulators with proposed merger

SSE plc has reached an agreement with Innogy regarding a proposed demerger of SSE’s household energy and services business in Great Britain (SSE Retail) and combination with npower. The merger would create a company serving around 11.5 million customer across Great Britain, and shrink the big six to a big five. Causing controversy in some quarters, the deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close late in 2018.

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Powerstar buys Bromsgrove Winding Services

Powerstar, a market leading voltage optimisation and energy storage brand, has acquired Bromsgrove Winding Services, a bespoke manufacturer of OEM power and distribution transformers. This move enables Powerstar to futureproof against major reforms upcoming in the energy industry.

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Peppermint Soda brings Forever Creative into the mix

Peppermint Soda, a Manchester-based marketing communications agency, has bought creative consultancy Forever Creative for an undisclosed fee. The deal is Peppermint’s first acquisition, designed to strengthen its digital, design and creative offering to the education, food, healthcare, manufacturing and public sectors. Forever’s team will join Peppermint at its Hale headquarters, with MD Jane Hudson becoming client services director.

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Concept Life Sciences acquires University of Edinburgh spin-out

Aquila BioMedical has been acquired by private equity-backed drug development and analytical services company Concept Life Sciences. Spun out of the University of Edinburgh, Aquila is a pre-clinical contract research business specialising in immuno-oncology, immunology and multiplex histology. Aquila expects to profit from Concept’s size and business development network as it seeks further growth.

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LDC backs MBO of construction software provider Eque2

LDC has backed a management buyout of construction software specialist Eque2. Eque2’s software enables more than 1,400 builders, contractors, architects, engineers and estimators to integrate the commercial and financial aspects of their business, driving efficiencies and in turn improving profitability. This multi-million-pound deal will be used to invest in the firm’s buy and build programme as well as funding the simultaneous acquisition of Miracle Dynamics Payroll and HR Solution.

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SysGroup seals £3.9m deal for Rockford IT

SysGroup has bought managed IT, hosting and security services company Rockford IT for £3.9m. SysGroup is one of the UK’s fastest growing managed IT services and cloud hosting providers. This latest acquisition is its sixth in the last three years, taking its workforce to over 100 as well as extending its market reach into vertical sectors such as hotels and leisure.

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Aviva to acquire Irish insurer Friends First

Aviva has agreed to buy Irish insurer Friends First Life Assurance Company for £116m. Friends First has over 250,000 customers, a market share of 6% and is a market leader in group risk and income protection. The deal makes Aviva one of the largest composite insurers in Ireland, increasing its market share to 15% in this category. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to go through in the first quarter of 2018.

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Nexus Group acquires Credit Risk Solutions

Managing general agent the Nexus Group has acquired Credit Risk Solutions. CRS is a trade credit broker operating from offices in Birmingham, Halifax and Manchester. This is the fourth acquisition Nexus has completed this year, further strengthening and diversifying its broking offering. CRS will retain its independence from Nexus’s underwriting operations following completion of the deal.

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Permira buys Duff & Phelps for £1.3bn

Global investor Permira has bought Duff & Phelps for £1.3bn. Duff & Phelps is a corporate finance firm headquartered in London. It has three offices in the UK, and employs over 2,000 people across 70 sites worldwide. Permira’s acquisition sees the exit of investors that include The Carlyle Group, Neuberger Berman, the University of California’s Office of the Chief Investment Officer of the Regents and Pictet & Cie.

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Multi Fan Systems hopes new acquisition is breath of fresh air

Multi Fan Systems has acquired Birmingham firm Modus Air, a specialist in in dust and fume control, ventilation and heating for industrial clients. Modus Air has previously been a supplier to Filtermist International, Multi Fan Systems’ parent company since November 2016. Since that takeover, Multi Fan Systems has increased its workforce by a third and won lucrative contracts with Federal-Mogul and Ricoh Products (UK).

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