Dickson Minto’s single biggest client BC Partners has finally made a major UK acquisition following a protracted three-year dry spell.
The private equity house concluded a £660m secondary buyout of UK boilermaker Baxi last month.
The acquisition, led by Dickson Minto senior partner Alastair Dickson and supported by Michael Barron and Martin McNair, saw private equity investors Candover and Electra exit an investment they initially made back in 1996. Both private equity houses and a third owner, fire safety group Kidde, were represented by Simon Beddow of Ashurst.
Beddow said: “At the moment, the markets are still closed for IPOs– secondary buyouts are the natural way to get an exit.”
The Baxi acquisition ends BC’s run of bad luck in UK auctions. One lawyer close to the Baxi deal said: “They convinced Electra their offer was the most deliverable. In particular, they did the due diligence on Baxi very quickly.”
BC’s last major UK acquisition was the £1.3bn purchase of the General Healthcare Group in 2000. In the last 12 months, BC has sold off Aviagen for £225m and Trader Media Group for £1.14m, both using Dickson Minto, but has not reinvested much in the UK. While exits can be at least as lucrative in terms of fees, as one private equity partner said: “If you sell everything off you’ll have nothing left in the locker.”
BC has also used Dickson Minto on its recent Continental deals: the firm acted on the massive Seat Pagine Gialle deal and on the £355m acquisition of German media company TeleColumbus. However, neither deal had a major UK component.