UK’s Vista Retail Support in secondary MBO

Technology support business Vista Retail Support has completed a management buyout of the business backed by WestBridge Capital. Octopus Investments and Clydesdale Bank also provided financing for the deal.

PRESS RELEASE

Vista Retail Support has announced that its senior management team has completed a management buyout of the business, with the support of private equity house WestBridge Capital. The secondary buyout was valued at £12.3 million.

This deal sees a majority shareholding being acquired by the existing senior management led by managing director Vince Haffenden, technical services director James Pepper and sales and marketing director Richard Cottrell. In addition, current chairman, Keith Brooks, will continue in the role of non executive chair.

The MBO was led by Westbridge Capital, with support from Octopus Investments and Clydesdale Bank. The management team with support from the investors has bought out the existing shareholders, including Finance Wales who supported the original management buyout.

Haffenden said: “Since Finance Wales backed the buyout of Vista from its previous owners in 2008, the business has gone from strength to strength. This MBO now provides a great opportunity for the executive team, with the backing of WestBridge Capital, to continue to drive growth in the retail, leisure and hospitality markets.”

Sandy Smart, partner and chief investment officer at WestBridge Capital, said: “Vista has progressed very well since the original management buyout and the recent upturn in economic activity will provide excellent opportunities for further growth. We are delighted to be able to support the vision of the management team and its ambitious plans for the future.

“Working closely with the management team, WestBridge Capital has identified and agreed a number of key strategies for revenue growth and is excited about what should be a very promising future for Vista.

“One of our portfolio companies recently received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. This was just two years after we supported its management buyout, which we hope reflects, at least in part, the added value WestBridge provides. ”

Established in 1995 as a technology support business focusing on the retail sector, Vista has grown to a £14m turnover organisation with a workforce of more than 170 staff across the UK. Vista supports some of the best known high street retailers in the UK with brands like Superdrug, Lloyds Pharmacy and BHS among its customers.

John Mihell, portfolio development manager at Finance Wales, said: “Vista is a great Welsh success story and its success demonstrates the difference Finance Wales’ backing can make. Since we invested it has employed more staff in Wales and we hope that it will continue to flourish following this acquisition. With a 4.5X return on our investment, this is our largest, most profitable exit to date and we look forward to helping create more success stories like Vista in future.”

Marc Davies of PwC, the lead advisor to the selling shareholders, said: “This secondary buyout represents a fantastic result for the exiting shareholders, and a great opportunity for management and the new investors. It has come about through the hard work and dedication of all those involved. Vista is a great company run by great people and this transaction demonstrates the appetite in the market for businesses of such quality.”

Vista chairman Keith Brooks believes that this is an exciting time for the industry and the business is well equipped to take advantage of market opportunities. He said: “This is a launch pad for adding further technology services to our portfolio. I was involved in the first spin out and I’m delighted that I can remain as an integral part of the business during its next phase.”

Hugh Costello, a member of the Specialist Finance team at Octopus Investments, said: “Octopus is delighted to be supporting the buyout of Vista. Vista has many years of profitable trading and a first rate management team that is well positioned to deliver on its business plan. At Octopus we look to partner with high quality companies that have a strong track record and actively work with them to realise their growth potential. Vista has a proven track record and an exciting market opportunity. We are looking forward to working with the team as the business continues to expand.”

Senior debt and working capital facilities are being provided from Ian Howey and Ian Mansell from the Midlands and South West acquisition finance teams of Clydesdale Bank.

Mezzanine debt and further equity funding was provided by VCT funds managed by Octopus Investments. Cardiff-based Capital Law advised WestBridge during the process, led by Duncan Macintosh.

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