Celebrity business goes for £20m

UK-based private equity firm, Gresham Private Equity has backed the £20.75m management buyout of celebrity, music and sports agent Formation Group.

Gresham’s is providing 100% of the funding to buyout five of Formation’s nine businesses, comprising of James Grant Media, O J Kilkenny & Co., Proactive Sports Management USA, Formation Sports Capital and Proactive Sports Management. The private equity firm will combine these businesses to create James Grant Group (JGG) and the remaining four will continue to be part of the listed entity on the AIM market.

The businesses have over 750 clients that include UK Premier League Football clubs as well as Ant & Dec, Bryan Adams, Lilly Allen, Sir Bob Geldof, Vernon Kay, Piers Morgan and Oasis. Philip Schofield is also a client and shareholder.

The completion of the deal is subject to shareholder approval. Upon completion, JGG will be led by Neil Rodford as chief executive. It will trade with two divisions; management services which will consist of the group’s media and sports management businesses and professional services which will consist of the group’s accountancy practice and sports finance business.

During the last year, the five businesses generated combined revenue of approximately £10m. Gresham plans to deploy a growth strategy focused on acquisition and development.

Andy Marsh and Ken Lawrence of Gresham will join the board of the newly formed company.