Clifford Chance advises Shuanghuan on latest acquisition

Clifford Chance has advised China-based auto component producer Zhejiang Shuanghuan Driveline Machinery Co., Ltd (Shuanghuan) on the acquisition of a majority share in German gearbox and auto component manufacturer Schmiedetechnik Plettenberg GmbH & Co. KG and Werkzeugtechnik Plettenberg GmbH & Co. KG. German VVP Vermögensverwaltung Plettenberg GmbH & Co. KG is selling its 81 percent of its shares in both companies. Upon closing of the transaction the Chinese investor will inject further capital into the group and thereby increase its shareholding.

Schmiedetechnik Plettenberg and Werkzeugtechnik Plettenberg are engaged in R&D, manufacturing, and sale of metal mold and precision molding parts for the automotive and construction machinery sectors.

Zhejiang Shuanghuan Driveline Co., Ltd., a listed company based in Hangzhou, China, produces and sells gears and shafts. The company’s products are widely used in the fields of inter alia cars, electric cars, high-speed rail traffic, electric tools and industrial robots. By acquiring the German gear manufacturers, Shuanghuan is accelerating its international development and further expanding its European business.

The Clifford Chance team advising Shuanghuan on the acquisition comprised partner Nicole Englisch and associate Sebastian Lahner, senior associate Nico Basener, associate Annika Ascher (all Corporate/M&A, Munich), counsel Dimitri Slobodenjuk and senior associate Caroline Scholke (both Antitrust, Dusseldorf), partner Claudia Milbradt, counsel Florian Reiling and senior associate Nicolas Hohn-Hein (all IP, Düsseldorf), partner Ines Keitel, senior associate Christopher Fischer (both Frankfurt) and associate Mario Maier (Munich, all Employment), partner Mathias Elspaß, senior associate Philipp Büsch and associate Felix Feldmann (all Corporate/Public Law, Düsseldorf), partner Christian Keilich (Frankfurt), counsel Dennis Blechinger and foreign lawyer Marion Dalvai (both Munich, all Real Estate), partner Barbara Mayer-Trautmann and senior associate Jennifer Seipelt (both Acquisition Finance, Munich) and partner Olaf Mertgen and counsel Dominik Engl (both Tax, Frankfurt) as well as a team from the Clifford Chance office in Shanghai lead by partner Glen Ma and including counsel Richard Cui (both Corporate/M&A).

Livingstone in the UK rebrands as Arrowpoint Advisory

Following Rothschild & Co’s acquisition of Livingstone in the UK, which was completed in December 2019, the team has become Arrowpoint Advisory and is the dedicated UK lower mid-market team within Rothschild & Co’s Global Advisory business.

Arrowpoint Advisory is one of the UK’s most successful M&A, Debt Advisory and Special Situations advisers in its market with a 40-year track record of delivering outstanding results for clients.

As part of the Rothschild & Co group, Arrowpoint Advisory is the only financial adviser in its market with a global platform of this scale, with unparalleled access to the group’s comprehensive sector expertise and offices in over 40 countries.

The Arrowpoint Advisory team delivers insight, expertise and hands-on support to entrepreneurs, sponsors and corporates principally across the Business Services, Consumer, Healthcare, Industrials and Media & Technology sectors.

With a team of 35 bankers and a track record of over 650 completed transactions, the Arrowpoint Advisory team has a focus on client-first advice defined by technical rigour, understanding of markets and commitment to execution excellence.

Arrowpoint Advisory Managing Director, Jeremy Furniss says: “Our entire team is excited at the potential for growing an already successful business which we built together over 40 years. Our clients will benefit from full access to Rothschild & Co’s Global Advisory business and its international infrastructure and network.”

BoyarMiller advises on the acquisition of Amtel, LLC

BoyarMiller provided legal counsel to Houston-based Amtel Partners, LLC in the purchase of Amtel, LLC, which closed on August 30, 2019. Amtel Partners was led by CEO Andy Priest and President Jeff Bookout.

Based in Grapevine, Texas, Amtel is a leading T-Mobile Premium Retailer (TPR) with 152 locations across multiple U.S. geographies, including Texas, California, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, New York and Massachusetts. Amtel is led by long-tenured wireless retail industry veterans who manage a team of highly talented, store-level employees that deliver world-class customer service and leading T-Mobile system operational performance.

“We specifically sought out attorneys that would be deal makers and not deal killers. Bill Boyar came highly recommended from the investment banking community and proved to be creative and a deal maker, for sure,” said Priest. “Bill’s relationships with banks and his experience with credit agreements really helped to get us across the finish line. We look forward to growing the company and to furthering the relationship with Bill and BoyarMiller.”

The BoyarMiller team included co-founding Shareholder Bill Boyar, Senior Associate Cyrus Chin and Associate Alex Parker. The transaction was financed through a senior credit facility provided by Amegy Bank, Woodforest National Bank and Bank of Texas. GulfStar Group served as the financing and structuring advisor to Amtel Partners in the debt placement.

“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Andy Priest and his team, and the GulfStar team led by Scott Winship and Brian Lobo, to complete this capital formation and acquisition. It was a true team effort to overcome several challenges and get the transaction closed. I am particularly proud of the work our BoyarMiller team did to get us to closing,” said Boyar.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.boyarmiller.com/

Pinsent Masons advises S.R. Smith on its acquisition of Sunbather

International law firm Pinsent Masons has advised S.R. Smith on the acquisition of Sunbather.

S.R. Smith LLC, a world leader in swimming pool deck equipment, has acquired Sunbather Pty Limited, Australia’s leading manufacturer of solar pool heating and pool covers.

Pinsent Masons worked closely with S.R. Smith’s US Counsel, Pepper Hamilton on both the diligence and the transactional documentation on S.R. Smith’s third acquisition in Australia.

The Pinsent Masons’ team acting on the transaction included partner Ewan Robertson, associate Lucy Carter and lawyer Lisa Meyer on M&A and due diligence matters, along with partner Katie Williams and lawyer Patrick Williams advising on employment aspects of the deal.

Transaction partner, Ewan Robertson, said: “We are delighted to have assisted S.R. Smith with what we are confident will be a really successful acquisition and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.pinsentmasons.com/

Tilney targets Smith & Williamson for merger

The board of Tilney has confirmed that it is in exclusive discussions with Smith & Williamson about a potential combination of the two businesses.

In a statement Tilney said: ‘A merger of Tilney and Smith & Williamson would create a market-leading, integrated UK wealth management and professional services group with over £45bn of assets under management.

‘These discussions are ongoing and there can be no certainty that a transaction will proceed. A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate.’

Smith & Williamson confirmed that talks are underway and that the accounting arm of the firm is part of the ongoing talks.

In a statement, Smith & Williamson said: ‘Further to the announcement by AGF Management Ltd to the Toronto Stock Exchange yesterday (18 August) regarding its shareholding in Smith & Williamson, the board of Smith & Williamson confirms that it has received an approach and is in exclusive discussions about a combination of its business with Tilney Group.

‘The respective boards believe that a merger of Smith & Williamson and Tilney has the potential to deliver significant benefits to the clients, employees, partners and shareholders of both businesses and create a market-leading, integrated, UK wealth management and professional services firm. Discussions remain ongoing and at this stage there is no certainty that a transaction will proceed. A further announcement will be made in due course.’

Smith & Williamson, founded in Glasgow in 1881, is ranked at number eight in the Accountancy Daily Top 75 Firms annual survey. The firm’s business model is based on a mix of financial and professional services, with a significant managed funds business. Its financial results, released in July, showed operating income increased 4.3% year-on-year to £278.1m while adjusted operating profit increased by 4.8% to £48.4m.

Professional services income, including revenue from tax and business services was up 6.5% to £104.7m, although the firm changed its reporting lines this year.

The funds under management and advice service line increased by 6.5% year-on-year to £21.4bn.

Tilney, which was bought by private equity firm Permira in 2014 from Deutsche Bank, manages some £24bn of client assets. It acquired competitor Towry in 2016 and also runs the online service Bestinvest.

The bid from Tilney, reported in the Sunday Times, comes two years after listed wealth manager Rathbones tried to buy Smith & Williamson. In August 2017 Rathbones, which manages over £32bn of client funds through Rathbone Investment Management proposed a merger, but talks were called off the following month.

At the time, Smith & Williamson said it intend to pursue a public listing and confirmed this view on publication of its latest results.

Andrew Sykes, non-executive chairman of Smith & Williamson, said in the firm’s annual report: ‘We continue to plan for a listing to take place at some juncture in 2020, subject to market conditions.’

If the deal goes ahead, the combined business would have about 250 financial planners, 240 investment managers and more than 100 partners in professional services.

There has been a flurry of mergers and acquisitions among wealth management firms in recent years, driven partly by increased regulatory supervision and the need for economies of scale.

Independent wealth management firm acquires six businesses

Succession Wealth has acquired six financial advisory businesses from around the United Kingdom.

Together, the deals add up to £800m in assets under management, bringing Succession’s total AUM to more than £8bn.

As a result of the six new acquisitions, a further 2,100 clients will join Succession Wealth, as well as 16 qualified and experienced Financial Planners.

In April, Succession Wealth announced it had secured over £100m of additional financing facilities through its existing financing arrangements, to fund an intensive acquisition plan and accelerate its national growth and presence.

As a result 55 firms have now joined Succession since 2014 – an average of one acquisition per month.

The latest six acquired companies are:

  • Mackenzie Investment Strategies, Inverness
  • Winter Financial Services, Marlow
  • Warwick Butchart Associates, Cheltenham
  • Killermont Investments, Glasgow
  • Additional Glasgow business acquired subject to FCA Change of Control approval
  • Ellaby Pollard, Bristol

James Stevenson, CEO, Succession Wealth, said: “We are delighted to welcome the proprietors and staff of these outstanding businesses on board.

“We share common values and a relentless drive to achieve excellence for our clients.

“We look forward to these acquisitions continuing to drive the growth and development of our national business.

“Since the launch of our advisory business just five years ago and the acquisitions we have completed, Succession Wealth is now in a very strong position to continue to deliver sustainable growth and become the UK’s foremost professional financial planning practice.

“The most sustainable companies prioritise their relationships with their clients and stakeholders, and our aim is to ensure everyone who is interested in benefiting from full Financial Planning and wealth management has ready access to the best possible advice.

“These latest acquisitions extend our national coverage, creating new regional offices in Inverness and Bristol and considerably strengthening our already significant presence in Glasgow and the Thames Valley.”

Duncan Mackenzie, founder of Chartered Financial Planning firm, Mackenzie Investment Strategies, said: “Succession has invested heavily in Scotland and, for us, it was essential for our clients and staff to join an established, reputable company that would allow us to foster the same level of trust and provide the same quality of service upon which we had based our reputation.”

Bristol based financial advisory firm, Ellaby Pollard’s managing director, Andy Barr, said: “Our clients will continue to receive high quality financial planning advice but will also enjoy enhanced services and an improved proposition as a result of us becoming part of a larger, national organisation.”

Mr Stevenson added: “Succession has a proven and extraordinarily successful acquisition model.

“Testament to this are the 55 highly respected Financial Planning businesses which have come on board in the last five years, as well as the pipeline of high quality, scaled IFA businesses with whom we are working towards acquiring through the year.

“We take pride in the fact that so many of our people – particularly our former business owners – remain with us.

“This ensures that our clients receive continuity of service from a local business delivered nationally.”