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Kirkland counsels Clearlake on decision to acquire Dimora Brands

Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. (together with certain of its affiliates, “Clearlake”) today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire TKE Holdings, Inc., dba Dimora Brands (“Dimora Brands” or the “Company”), a leading provider of branded specialty hardware and home accessories, from affiliates of The Jordan Company. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Dimora Brands, a Dallas-based designer, manufacturer and seller of high-end hardware and home accessories, was created in 2010 by the merger of Top Knobs and Hardware Resources. Since then, the Company has become an industry leader by delivering a premium product offering that appeals to a diverse set of aesthetic styles and price points. Dimora Brands achieved its strong reputation through consistent successful launches of new kitchen and bath decorative and functional products, as well as through acquisitions of other leading companies with complementary product lines. Underlying the Company’s significant track record of excellence is a robust logistics operation that delivers over 29,000 SKUs across the United States.

“We are excited to partner with Clearlake and are thankful for The Jordan Company’s support over the last four years,” said Greg Gottlieb, CEO, Dimora Brands. “Our robust operating model and sourcing infrastructure have positioned Dimora Brands to become the leading provider of specialty hardware and home accessories. We believe that Clearlake’s deep experience in building products distribution and operational insights will advance the Company into its next chapter of continued success.”

“We are thrilled to back Dimora Brands and leverage our significant experience investing in building products,” said José E. Feliciano, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, and Colin Leonard, Partner, Clearlake. “We are confident that the Company is well-positioned to capitalise on the strong momentum in home improvement spend and remodelling activity. We look forward to leveraging our O.P.S.® framework in partnership with management to accelerate Dimora Brands’ organic growth plans and continue executing a consolidation strategy in this highly fragmented market.”

The Company was advised by Baird, and Clearlake was advised by Deutsche Bank.

Clifford Chance listed 19th in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers

International law firm Clifford Chance has been ranked 19th in this year’s Stonewall Top 100 Employers List for 2020 – the sixth highest law firm in the list.

Now in its 16th year, the list celebrates the pioneering efforts and commitments of leading organisations to LGBT workplace inclusion. This year’s list, which was the largest ever with 503 employers entering, was developed using submissions to the Workplace Equality Index, a powerful benchmarking tool used by employers to create inclusive workplaces.

Toby Horner, Co-Chair of Clifford Chance’s LGBT+ & Allies Network ARCUS, said: “This result reflects our inclusion efforts at every stage from entry level recruitment through to reverse mentoring members of our Executive Leadership Group. Collaboration is core to our work and we have focused more than ever on our LBT strategy – an area which can often be overlooked. Whilst we still have steps to take to represent the full spectrum of LGBT diversity within the firm, we are committed to keeping our foot on the pedal and removing barriers wherever possible.”

Michael Bates, Clifford Chance UK Managing partner, comments: ”We are delighted that our commitment to maintaining an inclusive environment for our people has been recognised in this year’s Stonewall index. However, we cannot afford to be complacent. We know that there is more work and campaigning to be done to provide a workplace and society where people can be their full authentic selves, without fear of exclusion or discrimination.”

Clifford Chance’s inclusion in the index complements the firm’s extensive portfolio of global LGBT initiatives including: the ARCUS reverse mentoring scheme with the firm’s senior management team; the annual Pride Art exhibition that celebrates LGBT pride and fosters diversity and inclusion; and the commissioning of the largest piece of research on LGBT wellbeing with Trendence, Deutsche Bank, the University of York and National Student Pride.

Further information on Clifford Chance’s commitment to LGBT+ rights and equality can be found in its annual Responsible Business Report, which the firm publishes in accordance with the United Nations Global Compact.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/

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.

Who’s switching jobs? People moves for October 12th

The latest news for People on the Move, including insights and opinions from employment experts around the globe.

Octopus Property

Specialist property lender Octopus Property, part of the Octopus Group, announced the appointment of Paula Purdy as business development manager (BDM), north of England, reporting directly to D’mitri Zaprzala, Head of Sales. Paula’s appointment follows on from the three regional BDM hires announced last month, with representatives now established across the UK. Paula brings over 17 years of residential, commercial, buy-to-let and bridging lending experience. She joins Octopus Property from Shawbrook Bank, where she was head of sales, residential mortgages, increasing business and raising Shawbrook’s profile amongst intermediaries. Paula will be responsible for deepening relationships with introducers, alongside building new ones, in and around major North of England cities including Chester, Liverpool, Crewe and Warrington, leveraging Octopus Property’s residential, commercial and development product range.

White & Case LLP

Global law firm White & Case has expanded its global project finance practice with the addition of Simon Caridia as a new partner in London. Simon focuses his practice on debt financings for infrastructure M&A and private equity transactions. He advises industry sponsors, infrastructure and private equity funds, commercial bank lenders, multilateral agencies, institutional investors and host governments on brownfield transactions and greenfield projects, including acquisitions, refinancing’s, restructurings, project finance and public-private partnerships. He joins White & Case from Herbert Smith Freehills, where he was a partner. “There are very few lawyers in the London market who can match Simon’s reputation, experience and market knowledge in relation to advising clients on debt financing for infrastructure M&A and private equity deals,” said White & Case partner Mark Castillo-Bernaus.

Houlihan Lokey

Houlihan Lokey, the global investment bank, yesterday announced that David Brock had joined the firm as a managing director in its industrials group, focused on the building products sector. He is based in London. David joins from Jefferies, where he was a managing director and head of the construction and building materials group. Prior to Jefferies, he was also a managing director and head of the construction and building materials group at Deutsche Bank. David’s previous experience also includes equity research roles in the building products sector at Credit Suisse and HSBC. “I am excited for the opportunity to be part of this momentum and to be joining the market-leading Industrials team,” David said.