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Southampton: Advisers steer £25m VIMBO

By Dan Teuton
10 May 2007

Leading advisers Meridian Corporate Finance LLP, Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons and HSBC have successfully project-managed a £25 million VIMBO of Longmax Industries Limited, trading as Mail Solutions.

The company is one of the UK’s largest envelopes manufacturers, and a leading provider of direct mail and printing solutions.

The transaction follows an initial £7m management buyout (MBO) of the company from Homeserve plc in June 2004.

The VIMBO allows the original MBO team to retain a stake in the business, with the second tier of management being given a controlling interest.

Shareholders were given corporate finance advice by Meridian Corporate Finance LLP (MCF), legal advice by Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons, with funding provided by HSBC’s South Corporate Banking Team.

Michael Barcia led the MCF team, assisted by Luke Burgess. Dan Salanson led the HSBC team, assisted by Neil Foulkes, Carolyn Newsham and Barry Candler. Nick Gent led the team at Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons, assisted by James Hawkeswood and Ben Graham-Evans.

Phil Reid, Group Finance Director and Company Secretary of Mail Solutions, said: “Having advised us on our original MBO, we would like to thank both MCF and Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons through both Michael Barcia and Nick Gent for their knowledge and enthusiasm in project managing the deal smoothly to completion. We would also like to thank them for introducing us to Dan Salanson and his team at HSBC who consistently delivered on their promises throughout the process."

Michael Barcia commented: “Mail Solutions is an extremely well run business in a challenging sector. Their returns are well above the market norm and we look forward to helping them expand and grow their business by acquisition over the next few years.

“All of the advisers on the transaction originated from the Southampton area which gave us a high degree of control over the deal without any loss of professional input."

Nick Gent said: “Having acted for management in the initial acquisition of the Mail Solutions Group from Homeserve plc back in 2004, it was great to work with them again on a transaction which delivers on their succession strategy and provides reward for their hard work and dedication since the buy-out.”

“This transaction underlines the strength of Southampton as a marketplace for corporate transactional services, as the corporate finance and legal advice and bank funding were all sourced from Southampton, in spite of the company being based in Telford, Shropshire.”

Dan Salanson, of HSBC, added: “We have been tracking the success story of Mail Solutions since the time of the original MBO and were therefore delighted to be given the opportunity to support what we felt was a strong and sensible transaction.

"Our offer incorporated a number of funding options and my thanks to all my internal team for working hard to ensure we were able to deliver on our commitments in a timely manner. It was also pleasing to be able to work with such strong local professionals in negotiating and concluding the VIMBO."

Emma Gibson of Shoosmiths acted for HSBC, and BDO Stoy Hayward LLP in Southampton carried out the financial due diligence.

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