Arena Group, an events services business based in Cambridgeshire, England, has raised £16.5 from the London-based private equity group MML Capital Partners and Sports Investment Partners, also of London. Arena plans to use the funding to expand globally, according to its CEO, Greg Lawless.
The Arena Group, the leading international event services company today announced the completion of a growth capital investment in a deal led by MML alongside the specialist sports fund, Sports Investment Partners (SIP).
MML and SIP have together invested £16.5 million for a stake in a company that’s predicting a busy year. Arena will be clearly visible in London and other key locations this summer, providing the design and delivery of overlay services, such as seating, interiors and other special structures to create a number of iconic venues. The investment in Arena is the first for SIP, whose Chairman is Sir Martin Broughton.
Bal Johal and Luke Jones led the deal for MML who are taking a significant minority interest. Bal joins the Arena board and comments, “In Arena we quickly recognised an essential and high quality service, led by a strong management team in a fast growing sector. The way the deal has been structured with SIP’s support and involvement makes this a very exciting opportunity.”
The deal provides Arena with both equity and expertise as Matthew Wheeler, a senior figure in the sports marketing industry and Managing Partner of SIP, takes over as Chairman. A former professional cricketer with Northants CCC, Mr Wheeler also sits on the board of the Professional Cricket Association as a non executive director. He has chaired six private equity-backed businesses in the sports and media sector in the past ten years, from investment through to exit.
Arena Group CEO Greg Lawless plans to use this new investment as a catalyst for further global expansion. Says Mr Lawless, “It gives us great flexibility at a time when we are looking to expand beyond our current bases in the UK, Portugal, Abu Dhabi, Signapore and Dubai to reach excellent new opportunities in the Far East.
Arena will be looking to leverage both investment partners’ significant experience and industry knowledge to help develop and deliver ambitious international growth strategies for our business.”