After a universally slow start to corporate finance activity in 2012, the Midlands deal market appears to be picking up pace with news of three high profile transactions and an expanding corporate finance team at the Birmingham office of Midlands law firm Freeth Cartwright.
Headlining the trio of deals is the AIM admission of residential lettings agency Belvoir Lettings, which has over 140 offices nationwide, including central Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield.
Freeth Cartwright assisted with the listing and with the raising of £7.29 million for the company via a share placing. On admission, Belvoir’s market capitalisation was £15.5 million, furthering the company’s intention to expand its number of franchised offices to 200 by 2016.
Freeth Cartwright’s corporate finance team has also advised on the multi-million pound sale of Swansea-based laser and light-based system designers, manufacturers and suppliers Energist Group to investor Beaubridge, Westbridge Capital and the existing management team, with a minority interest retained by the previous majority shareholder, Merlin Bioscience Fund.
The transaction team was led by the Birmingham office’s head of corporate, Lee Clifford, and senior associate Tom Brown.
The third deal advised by Freeth Cartwright in recent weeks was April’s private equity fundraiser for Manchester-based Mexican fast-food chain Barburrito.
The funding, which is worth £3.25 million, will help Barburrito expand across the UK and could create up to 250 jobs.
The equity investment was secured from the Business Growth Fund, set up by the UK’s biggest banks to support fast-growing companies.
Mr Clifford said: “It is undoubtedly challenging in the current climate for companies to secure investment but, as this activity demonstrates, there is still a variety of funding options available for the right business with growth potential.”
On the back of an increasing workload and last year’s move to larger premises on Bennetts Hill at the heart of the Birmingham business community, Freeth Cartwright has expanded its city-based corporate finance team with two new appointments.
Corporate lawyer James Smith, a key adviser in the Barburrito deal, has arrived at the Birmingham office to focus on private equity deals. He is joined by Rachel Pennell, who will be advising on a full range of corporate finance legal services.