EMW, Morgan Cole and Shoosmiths install Cambridge software group’s MBO

EMW, Morgan Cole and Shoosmiths have all won headline roles as WestBridge Capital backs the £6m management buyout (MBO) of Cambridge-based Anglia Business Solutions in return for a 43 per cent stake in the business.

Ian Morris
Ian Morris

Milton Keynes-headquartered EMW took a first-time role acting for food supply chain software company Anglia in its role as vendor. The firm’s principal and founder Ian Morris led the team and was supported by corporate associate Gurpreet Sanghera.

Shoosmiths acted for new client WestBridge, which supplied £2.6m in funding to Anglia in exchange for gaining a 43 per cent stake.

Corporate partner Lynn Knight led the team from Shoosmiths’ Southampton office and was supported by associates Sharon Everard and Susie Porter. Banking partner Rebecca Mauleverer, tax associate Tom Wilde, and employment solicitor associate Stuart Lawrenson all provided additional advice on the buyout.

Only two weeks prior to the deal’s closure on 13 December, Morgan Cole was drafted in to advise the Co-operative Bank, which provided a further £1.5m in funding. Corporate and banking partners Michael Stace and Guy Constant led the team.

Additional funding was provided by £1.4m worth of vendor loan notes, £500,000 from its management and an American investor group affiliated with the Giumarra Companies.

The deal, which values Anglia at £6m, is set to provide the company with the necessary capital to fund the migration of its LINKFresh software onto the Microsoft Dynamics AX Platform, as well as funding the development of its international expansion.

Shoosmiths’ Knight commented: “In spite of the slightly modest value of the deal it’s been one of the most complex transactions that I’ve ever worked on in terms of all the different moving parts that needed to be considered, and we worked very hard with WestBridge to obtain the deal structure that we finally arrived at.”

Lynn Knight
Lynn Knight

Background to this deal:

The buyout marks first-time appointments for both EMW and Shoosmiths.

EMW was first approached in February 2012 by Anglia following a recommendation by the former managing director of UK dried fruit and nut company Whitworths.

The firm acted for Whitworths in 2006 when, following the company’s £15m MBO in 2001, it was sold by Gresham Private Equity to European Capital for £86m. EMW acted for Whitworths and all the shareholders on the buyout.

Shoosmiths first came across members of WestBridge’s management team while working across the table from them on another deal before they joined the private equity firm. The firm was then approached in May to advise WestBridge on the buyout.

Sean Wright, head of Shoosmith’s national private equity practice, is the primary relationship partner for the investor.

Morgan Cole is a long-standing adviser to the Co-op, having acting for the group for the past five years.