Management buys Clearwater Hampers

An Internet and mail order-based food and wine gift business has been bought by its management.

An Internet and mail order-based food and wine gift business has been bought by its management.

An Internet and mail order-based food and wine gift business has been bought by its management.

Oxfordshire-based Clearwater Hampers has been acquired by chief executive Ian Longworth and head of sales and marketing Peter Loverdos, who were supported by the company’s long-standing management team.

Management has expanded the company through targeting the corporate market and developing global supplier links as well as providing themed hampers.

The company was sold by Peter and Rachael Austin 28 years after they established the business.

The deal was made possible when the buy-out team secured the backing of The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Structured Debt Solutions (RBS) team in Oxford.

Longworth, a former investment banker who has worked at Clearwater for the past 15 years, said: “This MBO of this successful business is a wonderful opportunity, made possible, during long negotiations, by a strong and pro-active team of bankers, corporate finance and legal advisers.

“In particular, RBS as long-standing bankers to the business had an in-depth knowledge that helped them provide the right funding solution. It will be good to have all these advisers on board to achieve the medium-term strategic plans for further growth,” he added.

RBS’ associate director of Structured Debt Solutions, Jim Heppell, said: “Clearwater Hampers is a local success story and is built on sound fundamentals of a quality product, excellent customer service and a strong management team. I wish Ian, Peter and their team the very best for the future and look forward to working with them as they continue to grow the business.”

The buy-out team was assisted throughout the transaction by the corporate finance team at chartered accountant Hazlewoods.

The Hazlewoods team, which was led by Norman Webber, Simon Williams and John Lucas, advised on the structure and funding arrangements for the deal as well and handling the negotiations and legal review.

Williams remarked that the management team is very experienced in the sector and has identified some exciting opportunities for the business.

“We developed an excellent relationship on the transaction which ensured that any problems which did arise were dealt with effectively,” he added. “We also worked closely with the team’s finance providers, Jim Heppell, Chris Elias and Alan Walton of Royal Bank of Scotland and Jeff Jenkins of Swindon based law firm, Clark Holt.”

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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Management buyout