Set up in Liverpool in late 2020, private capital investor Arete has already clinched a number of deals and has now completed its latest transaction, worth £15m. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool private capital investor Arete has led a £15m investment into a North West business recovery consultancy.
Arete, set up in December 2020 by five leading North West investment professionals, has joined forces with Cumbria-based investment specialist Svella, to take a stake in Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group. The deal values the Manchester firm at £40m.
Leonard Curtis operates from 18 locations across the UK. It says it is “dedicated to dealing with financial and operational issues that SME owners and their stakeholders face at every stage of the business lifecycle”.
Employing 239 people, the company is the largest privately owned professional services provider of corporate restructuring and insolvency in the UK. In the last financial year it generated revenues of £25m and EBITDA of £6m.
Arete and Svella say they will utilise their combined resource and expertise, working alongside the Leonard Curtis management team, to enable the LC Group to enter its next phase of growth.
The business was founded in 1995 and offers a range of financial services to SMEs and business owners, including corporate restructuring and insolvency, legal services via LC Legal and finance raising via Reach Commercial Finance.
The group is also parent to Lifecycle, a national network of more than 1,600 member firms of accountants, created to help provide clients with the specialist services they need beyond the normal compliance-based offering.
Simon Lord, joint managing partner at Arete Capital Partners, said: “Leonard Curtis has a strong core business model and its management team has a clear vision for the future.
“Combined with our experience in building professional services businesses, we believe our exciting partnership with Leonard Curtis will further strengthen its position as a leading business solutions provider in the UK.
“We have built a strong relationship with the management team throughout the process and our shared values give me confidence that we can bolster the LC Group, leverage its existing capabilities and bolt on incremental specialist services for the group’s SME client base.”
The deal is another platform investment for Liverpool city centre-based Arete following its £10m investment in April this year in Tactus in addition to the firm’s recently launched Arete Zero Carbon division.
Daniel Booth, chief executive at Leonard Curtis, added: “Our plans for growth have been in the pipeline for some time and this investment from Arete and Svella will enable us to fulfil these plans and reach our potential at a time where we expect a surge in demand for the services we provide.
The transaction was led by Simon Lord, Matt Cheetham and Jamie Newall at Arete and Ben Whawell, Holly Loudon and Daniel Sofaer at Svella. Dan Wright, Ben Dilworth (financial due diligence), Stuart Cottee and Julie Campbell, Deloitte (tax) also advised on the deal.
Paul Medlicott, Rachael Norris and Daniel Conway of Addleshaw Goddard advised the investors and Ian Riggs, James Down and Harriet Adgie of Hill Dickinson and Bernard McIlroy of MSA Law advised the sellers.