March 13, 2014

Family business sold to its management team

A family-owned business based in Chippenham has been sold to its management team with help from professional advisers at Withy King and Baker Tilly.

The Woods Group, which provides fund-raising fulfilment services to charities and has an annual turnover of more than £8m, was sold by the Shutter family in February for an undisclosed sum.

Withy King has a long-standing relationship with the Shutter family. The late Roger Shutter acquired the Woods Group in Chippenham over 20 years ago and members of his family continue to own Woods The Stationers in Bath and Woods Business Services in Chippenham.

David Cavaliero, head of the Corporate & Commercial team at Withy King in Bath, who advised on the sale of the Woods Group, said: “It was very important to the Shutter family that the company would be in safe hands. Fortunately, the business has an experienced management team who were keen to take over and continue to drive it forward.

“Negotiating the terms of a sale can be a challenging exercise for everyone involved, but particularly for the owners who may not have sold a company before. This was a complex deal but by getting the right professional advice, the structure and other preparatory work in place at an early stage, a good outcome was achieved in the interests of the family as well as the business.”

Ian Wherry, head of the corporate finance team at Baker Tilly in Bristol, who also advised on the sale, said: “We have been advisers to this family-owned business for many years, and it is very rewarding to be able to help it transition to new ownership. This deal demonstrates that there is competitive funding available in the market for high quality businesses. The management team which helped Roger develop the business so successfully, now has the opportunity to take it to the next stage with the backing of Concertare and Santander and we wish them every success.”

The management buyout was supported by private equity investor Concertare Partners and Santander. Woods’ management team was advised by Isca Ventures, Bishop Fleming and Clark Holt. Concertare was advised by TLT and Grant Thornton.

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