PE-backed £100 million+ buyout of Mr Fothergill’s Seeds
Leading international horticulture supplier and family business, Mr Fothergill’s Seeds, has undergone a £100 million+ buyout with the backing of Harwood Private Capital.
In a deal led by our Corporate Finance team, the Newmarket-headquartered business will continue to be led by Managing Director Dave Carey and its experienced management team – supported by new Non-Executive Chair Matt Atkinson – as it pursues further growth across its trade and direct to consumer channels.
The deal sees the exit of Mr Fothergill’s founding shareholders, including former joint Managing Director, John Fothergill, and provides an incentivised growth platform for the senior management team, supported by new growth capital from Harwood Private Capital and OakNorth Bank.
Founded in 1978, Mr Fothergill’s has grown into a £50 million turnover business with international offices in Australia and New Zealand, employing more than 250 people. The business supplies horticultural products via its direct to consumer channels and to more than 3,000 retailers and partners including large national retailers and garden centres worldwide with a focus on hobby seeds and supplementary products. The addition of Matt Atkinson brings significant direct to consumer experience to the board.
FRP’s Corporate Finance Partner Dave Howes and Corporate Finance Director Ryan Symonds, supported by Tax Director Matt Field, acted as lead advisers on the competitive transaction. They have worked closely with Mr Fothergill’s board and shareholders in recent years to aid the business’ strategic development prior to the transaction. The team was involved in sourcing the investor before negotiating and managing the deal from the start to a successful conclusion. The result includes a strong valuation and attractive equity structure for both shareholders and management.
Dave Carey, Managing Director at Mr Fothergill’s Seeds, said: “The business my father Brian founded with Jeff Fothergill 40 years ago that myself, Aaron Whitehouse and John Fothergill have led for the last decade, has remained true to its family values while becoming one of the world’s leading seed brands. Those values, and our commitment to supporting our customers with the best possible product and service, will continue to be at the core of our offer as we enter into an exciting new era with Harwood Private Capital. I’m looking forward to working with the team as we target further growth across our international client base and the direct-to-consumer market.”
Dave Howes, Corporate Finance Partner in our Norwich office, said: “We’ve had the privilege of supporting the team at Mr Fothergill’s for the past two years and, in that time, have come to see first-hand the business’ growth potential. Homeware and gardening have seen a huge increase in sales since the start of the pandemic, and their continued strength makes businesses in the sector an ideal platform for investors looking to back established but ambitious brands. We wish all involved the best for the future as the firm continues to fly the flag for high-quality British brands on the domestic and international stage.”
Selling a business, Private equity
We’ve had the privilege of supporting the team at Mr Fothergill’s for the past two years and, in that time, have come to see first-hand the business’ growth potential.Dave Howes Corporate Finance