Shoosmiths Manchester advises on first deal for Foresight Regional Investment Fund

Shoosmiths Manchester advises on first deal for Foresight Regional Investment Fund

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Author: Kara Shadbolt

The corporate team of national law-firm, Shoosmiths has advised independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager Foresight Group on a £2.75m investment into Chorley-based horticultural ecommerce business, Euxton Group.

The deal, which has funded a buy-in management buyout (BIMBO) at Euxton Group, represents the very first investment from the Foresight Regional Investment Fund. The Fund was launched in January 2016 and targets established, profitable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the North West, North Wales and South Yorkshire, across a broad range of sectors.

Managed by Foresight's team based in its Manchester office, the Foresight Regional Investment Fund makes investments of between £1m and £5m into local growth SMEs. It operates a flexible investment mandate in terms of deal type, investing in MBOs, MBIs, Equity Release and Growth Capital transactions.

Euxton Group, which encompasses Hedges Direct, Best4 Hedging and Impact Plants, has grown rapidly over the last three years, having achieved annual sales growth of more than 30 per cent. Foresight's investment will help the group to further drive sales and capitalise on the increasing prevalence of ecommerce.

Michael McVey will join as managing director, working alongside the existing team of Jamie Shipley, Kathryn Gallagher and Paul Francis. Claire Alvarez, Senior Investment Manager who led the transaction out of Foresight's Manchester office, will also join the Euxton board.
The Shoosmiths team advising on the deal was led by Manchester corporate partner, Kieran Toal, with support from partner Amit Nayyar, James Skivington and Gemma Porter. Support from Shoosmiths specialist teams was provided by Danielle Spencer (banking), Katie Marsden (Employment) and Tom Wilde (Tax).

Commenting on the deal, Kieran Toal said: 'We are delighted to have supported the first investment made by the Foresight Regional Investment Fund and the first deal working with the Foresight from its new Manchester office. Foresight Regional Investment Fund is a welcome addition to the thriving Manchester private equity market and I am sure will play an essential role in stimulating regional economic growth in the SME sector. This deal will, no doubt, ensure that Euxton Group goes on to even greater success, regionally and beyond.'

Claire Alvarez, senior investment manager at Foresight, said: 'With this deal being our first investment from Foresight's Regional Investment Fund and our first out of Foresight's Manchester office, it was vital to us that our lawyers had the necessary expertise and drive to negotiate equity terms for us whilst at the same agreeing a deal that was fair for management. To do this effectively requires significant private equity experience, particularly in the local market as we are new to investing in the North West, excellent technical capability to navigate through complexity and the ability to advise on legal risks in a commercial context. Kieran and the Shoosmiths' team displayed all of these qualities together with professionalism and good humour and we would not hesitate to use them on future deals.'

'It is a pleasure to mark Foresight's commitment to the North West with this investment into Euxton, which has demonstrated such impressive growth over the past few years. I look forward to working with the management team to build innovative strategies for the business's development nationally and internationally.'

Shoosmiths' corporate team advises public and private companies, management teams, investors and debt providers through the business life cycle. Shoosmiths works with businesses from start-up and first round finance through to mergers and acquisitions, MBO and MBI transactions, development funding and on exits, by way of sale, listing or private equity investment.

Nationally, the corporate team is ranked in joint first place by deal volume in Experian's UK Deal Review and Advisor League Table. The team was recognised for its mergers and acquisitions expertise at the 2015 M&A Awards, winning the Law Firm of the Year category.