April 14, 2015
Yorkshire entrepreneur leads buyout at FMG
One of Yorkshire’s most successful entrepreneurs, Andrew Cope, has led the management buyout of FMG, the specialist in incident management and roadside recovery, for an undisclosed value. Having led Zenith, the vehicle leasing business, through five successful private equity buyouts between 2003 and 2014, Andrew joined FMG in April 2014 as Executive Chairman.
FMG specialises in providing outsourced incident management services for a range of clients including insurance companies, corporates with large car fleets and vehicle leasing companies. In addition, FMG also provides specialist roadside recovery services for the Highways Agency along with a number of Police regions and local councils. FMG has grown the fleet it manages by nearly 60% in the past two years, to approaching 250,000 vehicles.
The buyout sees Andrew increase his investment and shareholding in FMG, with John Catling, CEO, and the rest of the senior management team also increasing their shareholdings. Founder, Nick Brown, remains a significant shareholder as well. Institutional investor Spirit Capital has sold its stake which it acquired in 2008 and has been replaced by private equity house Endless LLP.
In December 2014, Endless announced it had raised a new fund of £525 million to invest in buyouts, non-core acquisitions from larger groups and refinancings. The fund is supported by a range of global investors, including some of the best known universities and the family offices of some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. Endless had a record year for new investments in 2014, which included the public to private acquisition of Office2Office plc, which was subsequently merged with Vasanta Group to create a combined business with turnover in excess of £600 million as the UK’s leading distributor of office products.
Andrew Cope commented: “We are on the cusp of some very exciting developments at FMG and this is a great time to complete the buyout and accelerate the growth in the business. We believe we can shake up the industry and that’s what we intend to do, delivering great service for our clients. We were very lucky as we had a lot of investors keen to support our plan, for which we are very grateful. We chose Endless to invest with us as they have a remarkable way of transacting, which is so much faster and more attune with what management teams want than anything I have experienced in the six buyout processes I have now been involved in.”
Darren Forshaw, Partner at Endless, commented: “2014 was remarkable year for Endless and this momentum has continued into 2015. Supporting Andrew, John and the team in the buyout of FMG is an important step for Endless and fits perfectly with our new, broader investment plans. It is an exciting business in a growing and changing market, which we believe will provide great opportunities for the team at FMG to show its strengths. Our pipeline for new opportunities has never been better and we are expecting to make further announcements in the short term.”
The Endless deal team was led by Mathew Deering and Kerry Battiscombe, with support from Indra Harrison, Michael Rice and Adam Keasey. Endless was advised by Walker Morris (Debbie Jackson and Peter Considine). FMG and its management team were advised by Park Place Corporate Finance (Tim Simpson and Amman Boughan) and Squire Patton Boggs (Jonathan Jones and Jayne Aarons).