Sykes Holiday Cottages, Ghetto Golf and BGF: The 19 latest North West deals

An expanding bar group, a major holidays company and an investment firm are among the North West to have announced a series of acquisitions in recent weeks.

The likes of Trending Travel, North West Logistics Social Money have also been involved in transactions.

Below, BusinessLive rounds up the latest 19 deals from across the region that we feel you should not miss.

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Big Fang Collective



Ghetto Golf recently opened a new site in Sheffield

The company behind Ghetto Golf has secured a £5m investment from a business which partners with ITV to develop, own and operate Ninja Warrior, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here and The Chase family entertainment venues across the UK.

Liverpool-headquartered Big Fang Collective has been backed by Imbiba, whose investments also include Pizza Pilgrims, NQ64 and House of Gods.

Founded in 2016, the business has locations in Liverpool, Birmingham, Newcastle, Sheffield and Glasgow across its Ghetto Golf, Golf Fang and Birdies Bar brands.

Read the full story here

R&G Fluid Power



An acquisitive Lancashire-headquartered group has itself been snapped up by an international giant in a deal worth in the region of £100m.

R&G Fluid Power, which is headquartered near Preston, has been bought by Diploma plc.

The firm is a distributor of a range of industrial, hydraulic and pneumatic products and was originally established in 2000 by Chris Ford as Millennium Coupling Company.

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Trending Travel



An online travel company promoted by influencers and celebrities such as Amanda Holden, Nicole Scherzinger and Peter Andre is looking to grow after passing its six-figure crowdfunding target.

Altrincham-headquartered Trending Travel has raised more than its £300,000 Crowdcube target with over 20 days of its campaign still to run.

The company has so far secured the backing of more than 160 investors and said it is valued at £4m.

Read the full story here

Arc Inspirations



Banyan Bar & Kitchen is a brand run by Arc Inspirations

The group behind the Banyan Bar & Kitchen, BOX and Manahatta venues has secured a £19m investment from BGF.

Arc Inspirations operates locations in Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham, Ilkley, York and Harrogate.

BGF has taken a minority stake in the Martin Wolstencroft-led business which will use the additional capital to double its footprint over the next few years.

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Praetura Ventures



A software company whose clients include Barclays, Santander and Investec has secured a £2m boost from a Manchester-based venture capital investor.

Fluid.work has been backed by Praetura Ventures and will use the funds to “significantly” grow its team, increase marketing activity and target global expansion.

The company’s platform uses a variety of tools including custom automated workflows, automated presentation creation, interactive dashboards, work hubs, resource management, intuitive integrations reporting and tracking systems.

Read the full story here

Inspired plc



A major investor in a commercial energy and sustainability consultancy has sold its entire stake.

BGF, which was founded by Barclays in 2011, had previously had a holding of just over 7% in Inspired plc.

The company had held the shares in behalf of Pershing Securities in Liverpool.

Read the full story here

Panthera Biosciences



Panthera Biosciences chairman John Lyon

Preston-based Panthera Biosciences has secured a £10m investment from BGF and Gresham House Ventures, the latter investing on behalf of the Baronsmead VCTs.

The investment will allow Panthera to further grow its network of dedicated clinical trial sites across the UK and Western Europe.

Since launching in late 2019, with an initial investment from Gresham House Ventures and Catapult in 2020, Panthera has grown to nine sites.

Panthera chairman John Lyon said: “We are very pleased to have the backing of such reputable and respected investment houses as BGF and Gresham House Ventures, which will supercharge our expansion.

“In the last two and a half years our management team has built an exemplar SMO model which has been welcomed by our clients in the major pharmaceutical companies and CROs.

“In the next 12 months we aim to become the preferred provider for our clients across Europe.”

Tristone Healthcare



Tristone founder and CEO Yannis Loucopoulos

Sale-based Tristone Healthcare has announced the acquisition of Beyond Limits (Plymouth) Ltd.

The acquisition of the provider – which operates across Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, and Dumfries and Galloway – follows the addition of Seaside Care Homes to its portfolio of businesses in February.

Beyond Limits was founded in 2011 and specialises in supporting people with learning disabilities, mental health issues and other needs.

Tristone founder and CEO Yannis Loucopoulos said: “The quality of care at Beyond Limits is second-to-none and is reflected in its Outstanding CQC rating.

“The management team operates at the very highest standard and, as such, there was a real meeting of values and vision. It has all the hallmarks of a business we love to invest in – one which is delivering outstanding care and support, has a great management team, clear opportunities for growth and strong financial fundamentals.”

Vivify



Vivify was founded in 2020 by Russell Teale, Alaine Swis and Andy Mellor

Manchester-based digital scale up Vivify has secured a further £1m boost from Arete, a Liverpool-headquartered private equity firm which currently backs a host of other North West companies.

Vivify was founded in 2020 by the current management team of Russell Teale and Alaine Swis, who have since been joined by finance director, Carl Cox and chairman Richard Millman.

It works with schools across the country to hire out their facilities outside of school hours to enable them to generate much needed revenue that can be invested back into their facilities, teachers, and pupil experience.

The private equity firm’s portfolio also includes the likes of Inspired Energy, Peak, Tactus and SysGroup.

Zodeq



Zodeq is headquartered in Chester

Manchester-based Praetura Group has confirmed the acquisition of recruitment finance specialist, Zodeq.

Based in Chester, Zodeq provides financial solutions – including invoice finance and asset-based lending facilities – to entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs in the recruitment industry.

Zodeq was founded in 2016 by managing director Paul Cooney and has scaled rapidly during the last five years. The business now has more than 180 clients, and has provided more than £250m in working capital to SMEs.

Peadar O’Reilly, managing director of the Praetura lending division, said: “As a pioneering North West finance specialist, we’re very pleased to welcome the Zodeq team to the Praetura Group.

“The team has a track record for helping ambitious business leaders access the funding they need to achieve their goals and maximise their potential.

“At Praetura, we continue to expand our services to support a growing number of SMEs as they look to underpin the UK’s wider economic recovery. Combined, our teams will have even greater firepower in the market.”

The Rug Seller



Shabby Store has been acquired out of administration

Daniel Prendergast, the entrepreneur behind online retail store TheRugSeller.co.uk, has acquired Shabby Store out of administration.

The homeware brand has been relaunched under the new ownership after the business collapsed in February.

Me Prendergast said: “Shabby.co.uk has a fantastic reputation as the go-to place for stylish interior products and the silver-grey and mirrored furniture style aesthetic that floods our Instagram feeds, especially thanks to celebrity customers like Mrs Hinch.

“After a successful few years of trading, and reaching an annual turnover of £2m, unfortunately Shabby Store succumbed to the pressures that many retail companies are facing today, but it deserved to be saved and given a new lease of life, which is exactly what we’re planning to do.”

RDS



RDS co-founder Mark Joyner

Altrincham-based specialist tax consultancy RDS has announced a £5m investment from BGF.

RDS was founded by entrepreneurs Geoff Liberman and Mark Joyner and has amassed more than 500 clients across the UK.

BGF’s funding will allow the business to invest further in its technology and talent, expanding headcount and enhancing its management team.

Mr Joyner said: “My personal passion is working with businesses and understanding what makes them successful.

“Companies often don’t realise they are eligible for R&D as it’s not always just about developing new products or ideas but can apply to developing new ways of doing things, or the adaption and development of processes to improve their product or service.

“We’re well placed to support all shapes and size of business to receive credit or repayment for their innovation to reinvest and grow.

“When we started to consider an investment partner, we’d had interest from trade buyers and private equity. Where BGF stood out was their long-term, collaborative approach and shared ambition for the business.

“We’ve rapidly grown in the past five years but with this investment, we have the people, experience, and capital to surpass all of our previous goals.”

Trunk and Big Brand Ideas



Managing director Adam-Britton and chief executive Jon-Butler from TrunkBBI

North West agencies Trunk and Big Brand Ideas have merged.

The 75-strong agency will be called TrunkBBI and be headquartered in Manchester.

Founder and managing director of Big Brand Ideas, Jon Butler, moves into the role of CEO.

Creative director and managing director of Trunk, Adam Britton, becomes TrunkBBI’s MD.

Mr Butler said: “The merger is the beginning of a new chapter in our history. Our approach is simple. We are bringing the agencies together to connect award-winning creatives with performance professionals. We call this ‘Create + Activate’.

“Our integrated approach allows us to do more under one roof, creating an efficient way of working for our clients with one team of experts working across all disciplines to deliver results.

“We believe that excellence occurs when creative and performance marketeers work together with the same insights and strategy.”

ASET Hospital



Hassan Shaaban, medical director and consultant plastic surgeon at ASET Hospital, and Andrea Fulton, relationship manager at HSBC UK

A Merseyside-based independent hospital has secured a seven-figure funding package from HSBC UK to support its expansion.

ASET Hospital has used the funding to triple the number of its operating theatres and grow its overnight bed capacity.

The hospital has also used the funding to invest in surgical and medical equipment, enabling the business to expand its healthcare support.

ASET Hospital was established in 2019 as a cosmetic surgery clinic and is now set to triple its staff members and increase its turnover threefold over the next 12 months.

Hassan Shaaban, medical director and consultant plastic surgeon at ASET Hospital, said: “We’re incredibly proud of the treatments and care we offer at ASET Hospital so it’s fantastic that we can now accommodate more patients, increase our capacity and grow our team of highly qualified and experienced staff.

“We’re grateful to HSBC UK for facilitating our expansion. We’re now well-positioned to continue our vision for growth, all whilst continuing to put the safety and wellbeing of our patients at the heart of our plans.”

Social Money



Louis Alexander, owner and director of Social Money

Social Money, owner of millennial-focused buy now, pay later finance firm Payl8r and bridge lending business SoMo, has made its first ever investment in another business.

The Series A-B funding of £500,000 is with Faces Consent for a 10% share. The start-up aesthetics app has been valued at £5m.

Louis Alexander, owner and director of Social Money, said: “Faces Consent is an impressive tech start-up within the rapid growingly aesthetics industry. I was impressed by its business model and growth potential.

“We can add real value through our expertise across finance, technology and retail, alongside our half a million pound investment.

“This is the first time that we’ve invested outside of our business. It’s not something we were actively seeking to do, but when an opportunity as strong as this comes along, you have to take it.”

Edu-Lettings



Nick Bowen, managing director of Edu-Lettings

Edu-Lettings, a Bolton-based company that provides a fully-managed lettings provision for schools, has accepted an offer of investment from the directors of SchoolHire.

Mike Blundell, who co-founded EDU along with Nick Bowen in 2020, has sold his shares, but will continue to be a part of the business in the role of operations director while Mr Bowen will undertake a new role of managing director.

Mr Bowen said: “I am really excited to gain the industry knowledge and expertise of both David and Charlie who have been so successful with SchoolHire, whilst retaining Mike’s operational leadership, all of which can only strengthen EDU and its position in the market and ensure that we continue to grow and keep providing world class delivery of our services.

“I can further assure all stakeholders that our company ethos, culture or operational focuses will not change due to the shareholding change, with myself, as managing director, continuing to have ownership on business direction.”

Sykes Holiday Cottages



Forest Holidays has been acquired by Sykes Holiday Cottages

Chester-headquartered Sykes Holiday Cottages has acquired a controlling stake in Forest Holidays, an owner and operator of environmentally sensitive cabins.

As part of the deal, Forest Holidays’ existing institutional investor group, which is led by Phoenix Equity Partners and includes LDC, will exit.

Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland and Natural Resources Wales will also divest their legacy minority stake.

Graham Donoghue, CEO of Sykes, said: “As the UK’s leading provider of woodland accommodation, Forest Holidays is the perfect complement to our existing holiday cottage rental business, offering our respective customers an unrivalled choice and quality of accommodation across a variety of settings.

“We’ve been impressed by what Bruce McKendrick and his team have achieved and are excited by our common purpose with a focus on environment, local and rural communities at the core of our businesses.”

North West Logistics



Lancashire-based North West Logistics has acquired a business with support of a seven-figure funding package from HSBC UK.

The company has acquired Proserve Logistics, a Wrexham-based firm providing warehousing and transport solutions for businesses to help maximise performance, efficiency and reliability in a cost effective manner.

Stephen Dunn, managing director at North West Logistics, said: “The acquisition of Proserve Logistics marks an exciting next chapter for our company, and we’re grateful to HSBC UK for providing funding.

“This acquisition allows us to join together with a well-established, reliable business, with a very experienced management team, robust growth plans and a loyal customer base.

“We’re well-positioned to seize further growth opportunities that focus on the highest quality logistical solutions for our customers, whilst enabling us to retain the strength of our existing processes and management team.”

ADXBA and Astra Signs



David Derbyshire and Jim Kerr of Astra Signs and ADXBA

Manchester-based digital signage provider ADXBA and bespoke architectural counterpart Astra Signs have announced a merger.

The combined business will retain all current staff and be led by ADXBA’s managing director, Jim Kerr, while Astra Signs MD David Derbyshire will take time out to travel and explore other interests.

Mr Derbyshire said: “We’ve had opportunities like this before, but we’ve never found the right fit, so I’m very pleased that Jim is able to push this forward.

“Merging with ADXBA will provide Astra Signs with a national footprint, digital signage expertise and a strong technology base – giving the business a unique position in the industry. I am certain that the two businesses will do great things together.”

Mr Kerr added: “We worked with Astra Signs on the Manchester Airport Transformation project and I was struck by their attention to detail and quality of their products.

“As well as benefiting from each other’s skills and services, this move will allow both companies to increase efficiencies through scale and to add real value to our combined customer base whilst innovating through technology.

“We’re all very excited for our future as a combined business and we’d like to thank David for his commitment to Astra Signs for the past 40 years.”