Deal gets Meek touch

Corporate partner Charles Meek led a Macfarlanes team in one of the largest and most complex venture capital led buy-outs in recent times.

The deal involved Safetynet, the fast-growing disaster recovery business, valuing the business at u85m.

“The complex part was in putting together four different deals for four vendor groups – all of which had quite different objectives – and making it all happen at the same time,” says Meek.

Safetynet focuses on the financial sector. Top clients include Deutsche Bank, Legal & General and Perpetual. Set up by entrepreneurs Paul Hearson and Paul Barry-Welsh, its shareholders prior to the deal included information giant Reuters, and company management.

Macfarlanes worked alongside venture capital firm 3i, and acted for acquisition vehicle Safetynet Group. The new company is 20 per cent owned by 3i, and 25 per cent by Reuters. Just over 50 per cent is held by Barry-Welsh, who rolled over his shareholding. Reuters and the management also rolled over, while Hearson sold his stake.

Berwin Leighton acted for Barry-Walsh, Pinsent Curtis acted for Hearson, and in-house lawyer Judith Archibald advised 3i. “Without great teamwork, the deal would have been almost impossible to do.”