HSBC

Acorn Web Offset completes HSBC-backed MBO

Yorkshire-based printer Acorn Web Offset has been acquired by its management team for an undisclosed sum in a deal backed by HSBC’s Yorkshire Corporate team. Chief executive Nick Alexander has led the management buy-out (MBO) from parent company Garnett Dickinson.

Acorn Web Offset specialises in magazine, brochure and catalogue printing and generates a turnover of approximately £15 million a year. It employs around 100 people at its Normanton-based premises. Magazines printed by the company include the football brochures for the London 2012 Olympics.

The MBO team included Acorn Web Offset General Manager Mark Roberts and Sales Manager Matthew Carry. Following the acquisition Nick Alexander will step down from the Garnett Dickinson board but will retain his shareholding in the company.

HSBC’s Yorkshire Corporate Team provided finance to support the acquisition, including asset finance and term debt. The deal was led on behalf of the bank by Corporate Banking Manager Guy Rothery, with support from HSBC Corporate Analyst Jack Coley.

Sheffield’s advisory community played a key role in the deal. Advisors on the deal included Chris Sellars of Mackenzie Spencer and Neil Thompson of Hill Dickinson solicitors. Dean Gormley and Matt Ainsworth of Irwin Mitchell provided legal support to HSBC, whilst DLA Piper’s Sheffield office advised the vendor.

Rotherham-based Garnett Dickinson acquired Acorn Web Offset in 2009 from the Trader Media Group and the disposal will allow the business to focus on its core mail order and direct marketing print operations.

Nick Alexander said: “This is a friendly buyout that suits all parties. We don’t intend to make major changes to the business because our customers like the service we offer and we do it very well. However, it is a great opportunity to take the business forward and accelerate its growth. HSBC played an important role in the transaction; I have worked with the bank for a number of years and look forward to working with it going forward.”

Guy Rothery, HSBC Corporate Banking Manager, added: “Acorn Web Offset produces a quality product and maintains strong customer relationships in the face of a competitive marketplace. We are confident that Nick, alongside his senior management team, will continue to develop this business under its new ownership.”

Chris Sellars of Mackenzie Spencer said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Nick and we were delighted to be involved. All parties involved in the transaction, including HSBC and all of the lawyers, demonstrated a genuine ‘can do’ attitude.”

Neil Thompson, head of Hill Dickinson’s Sheffield office, added: “I have no doubt that Nick and team will make a major success of the acquisition. He was great to deal with and it was also a pleasure to work with a full suite of Sheffield advisers showing the strength of the region’s advisory community.”

Dean Gormley, Banking Partner at Irwin Mitchell, concluded: “We at Irwin Mitchell are delighted to have assisted the bank in supporting the next phase of development of this strong and growing Yorkshire business and wish Nick and his team every success in the future.”

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