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Fish farms to fintech… our deals of the year review, part two



Familiar and not-so-familiar names feature in our top 20 most influential deals of the year in Scottish business. North Sea, buses, energy and football featured in part one – now here is the rest of the list.

Seplat/Eland Oil & Gas   

Aberdeen-headquartered Eland Oil & Gas, which is focused on interests in Africa, reached a deal to be acquired by Nigeria’s Seplat Petroleum in a transaction valuing it at around £382 million. The offer price represents a record share price for Eland and chief executive George Maxwell said the deal was the culmination of a “very successful journey” by the company, the management team and its stakeholders.

Bakkafrost/Scottish Salmon Company

In one of the largest deals in Scotland’s food & drink sector for many years, the Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) was bought by Faroe Islands-based Bakkafrost in a £517 million deal. Edinburgh-headquartered SSC, whose shares were traded on the Oslo stock exchange before the takeover, is one of the three biggest producers of farmed salmon in Scottish waters, operating at 60 sites and with more than 600 workers.

Stagecoach

Perth-based transport group Stagecoach completed the sale of its North American coach business in April after months of speculation over a deal. The company sold the operation to US-based private equity group Variant Equity Advisors in a deal worth $215 million (c.£166 million). The proceeds helped reduce the bus and rail firm’s net debt.

FNZ/GBST

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Edinburgh-headquartered fintech FNZ, itself the subject of one the largest acquisition deals seen in the sector last year, bought Australian financial software firm GBST in a £152 million transaction. The deal, which is currently by probed by competition authorities, will enable FNZ to take advantage of significant changes being introduced in Australian banking.

Arnold Clark/Phoenix

Scotland’s biggest car dealer Arnold Clark bought Paisley-based rival Phoenix Group in the latest in a series of consolidation moves in the sector. Phoenix, founded by John McGuire in 1993, represents five car brands including Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Honda with six retail sites in Paisley and one in Edinburgh.

Jacobs/Wood Group Nuclear

Scottish energy services giant Wood exited the UK nuclear power industry after selling its business focused on the sector to US engineering firm Jacobs for £250 million. The nuclear arm had mainly been involved in decommissioning work at the Sellafield site in Cumbria and Wood said the move would enable it to focus more on areas like renewables and the energy industry’s drive to cut carbon.

Longboat Energy

Scottish flotations are a rare sight so the market debut of Longboat Energy, a new North Sea oil company founded by the former leadership of Faroe Petroleum, was welcomed by the dealmaking community. Longboat raised £10 million in its initial public offering on AIM with investors from Blackrock, Fidelity, Axa and Canaccord among those supporting it.

Northwind 5s/Goals

Northwind 5s, a new company backed by Soccerworld and Inflexion Private Equity, bought troubled Goals Soccer Centres out of administration  in a pre-pack deal   The future of the East Kilbride firm had been in doubt after it called in forensic accountants to investigate accounting irregularities and trading in its shares had been suspended before they were delisted.

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Deliveroo/Cultivate

Edinburgh-based software development firm Cultivate was bought by food delivery giant Deliveroo in a deal which will see a tech hub established with up to 50 new jobs. Cultivate, based at tech incubator CodeBase, had been working with Deliveroo for several years to help build its payments systems which handles millions of transactions daily.

Cyberhawk Innovations

One of Scotland’s most successful tech start-ups of the last decade, drone firm Cyberhawk Innovations was bought by private equity firm Magnesium Capital. With support from Scottish Equity Partners and the Scottish Investment Bank, Cyberhawk had grown into a 60 strong team and flown more than 30,000 commercial missions around the world. As part of the acquisition deal, all the company’s staff were retained.



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