All aboard for big deals at Dickinsons

North East firm Dickinson Dees has tied the knot on a spate of deals worth about £400 million in the last month.

Two of the biggest briefs focused on regional bus companies where Dickinsons acted for vehicles company Cowie and the Go-Ahead Group.

Cowie snapped up British Bus for £282 million and County Bus for £10 million. The British Bus deal sought funds from shareholders via a £186 million rights issue.

Go-Ahead acquired the London General bus company for £48 million funded by an open offer to raise £20 million.

Dickinsons, whose senior partner Robert Dickinson is non-executive chair of the Northern Rock building society, has acted for Go-Ahead since its emergence from National Bus as a management buy-out.

The acquisition of British Bus takes the firm's total bus industry acquisitions over the last four years to about £500 million pounds.

Dickinsons corporate partner John Flynn said: “We have seen an unprecedented surge in activity which seems to have been fuelled by the ready availability of funds in the City.”

Other deals where Dickinsons has been involved include motor dealer Reg Vardy's recent £30 million rights issue and the sale of its Altwood subsidiaries for £8 million.

Flynn thinks it unlikely that the level of deals can be maintained with the relatively small corporate base in the North East. “But we live in hope,” he added.