Hancocks Group Completes MBO backed by H2 Equity Partners and Investec

UK-based Hancocks Group, which includes Hancocks Cash and Carry, has been sold to its management and H2 Equity Partners. The new ownership sees both Andrew and Adrian Hancock step back from the company. Investec has provided H2 Equity Partners with a debt and mezzanine financing package.

PRESS RELEASE

Hancocks Group Holdings Ltd (Hancocks), which includes Hancocks Cash and Carry, has been sold to its management and H2 Equity Partners (H2). The new ownership sees both Andrew and Adrian Hancock step back from the company.

Established in 1962 by Andrew and Adrian’s father Ray Hancock, the Hancocks Group has been owned and managed by the family for 50 years. In that time it has grown to a business with over £100 million in sales, demonstrating consistent growth and resilience to the economic climate.

H2 Equity Partners plans to build on Hancocks’ strong position in the market to take the company forward in the coming years. H2 and management will work together to expand the national depot network, continue to develop both the branded and own label ranges on offer and grow the online activities.

“This can only be great news for our customers, employees and suppliers,” says Andrew Hancock, former owner and Chairman of Hancocks. “From a sweet shop in Shepshed, our family has grown the business to a group that serves many thousands of businesses with their confectionery supplies. We now hand the baton on with pride, knowing that Hancocks can only go from strength to strength,” he adds.

As far as day to day operations are concerned, it is business as usual. Supplier arrangements will stay in place and Hancocks will continue to offer the same high level of service to its customers.

“We are delighted to have reached an agreement that allows us to become the majority shareholder of Hancocks. The business has a strong management team in place and is a great platform to build from. We shall use our significant experience in wholesaling businesses to assist Management in taking the company to the next level,” says Simon Gilbert of H2 Equity Partners.

Mark Watson will remain as CEO and is confident of a bright future for the confectionery company. “I am delighted to be leading such a strong company that has the prospect of becoming a much bigger player within confectionery wholesaling. We have some exciting plans and opportunities to take the business forward with H2 at the helm,” he says.

Investec has provided H2 Equity Partners with a debt and mezzanine financing package. James Stirling of Investec commented “This is an attractive deal for us. Hancocks occupies a clear leadership position in a niche market and it offers a clear value-proposition to its customer base. This deal represents the second we have concluded in the UK confectionery market, having successfully exited our investment in Big Bear Group in 2011.”

The transaction was completed with support from a number of advisors, including James Trevis, partner from the Midlands office of Eversheds LLP, assisted by Louise Finnie and Vicky Gaskell, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Cavendish Corporate Finance, who acted for the Hancock brothers on the sale and for Mark Watson and the ongoing management team

H2 were advised by Jonathan Watkins and James Kerrigan of DLA LLP in Manchester and Andy Harris and Richard Rose of BDO LLP. Investec were advised by Macfarlanes LLP in London.

ENDS

For further information please contact:

Investec Specialist Bank 020 7597 4000
James Stirling
Shaun Mullin

Newgate Communications 020 7680 6550
(for Investec)
Martin Greig

AH Marketing (for Hancocks) 01886 888228
Anna Metcalf

Information for editors:

Investec Growth & Acquisition Finance
Investec Growth & Acquisition Finance is part of Investec Specialist Bank. It works with entrepreneurs, management teams and private equity houses to provide finance to UK mid-market companies. Their flexible solutions cover the entire capital structure offering asset based and cash flow senior lending, mezzanine finance and minority equity on either a standalone or integrated basis. They are a single, empowered and responsive team focussed on making deals happen and building strong relationships with clients.

Investec Specialist Bank
Investec is a specialist bank that provides a diverse range of financial products and services to a niche client base in three principal markets: the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia, as well as certain other countries.

Investec Specialist Bank is a brand name of Investec Bank plc, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority and is a member of the London Stock Exchange.

H2 Equity Partners is an independent private equity firm founded in 1991, with offices in Amsterdam, Cologne and London. H2 focuses on growth and special situations investments in mid-sized companies in the Benelux, Germany and the UK that can benefit from its hands-on approach and in-house operating expertise. H2 has a strong track record over 19 years of helping to build better businesses and currently manages a portfolio of 16 companies generating ca. £2 billion in sales. Total funds under management amount to ca. £425 million.

This press release is issued on behalf of Investec Bank plc. Registered address: 2 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7QP. (Reg No. 489604)