Two successful international deals ‘show Sheffield has the expertise’

Patrick Abel, corporate finance Partner at Hart Shaw, left, enlisted the                                                        support of Richard May, head of corporate at the Sheffield office of DLA Piper
Patrick Abel, corporate finance Partner at Hart Shaw, left, enlisted the support of Richard May, head of corporate at the Sheffield office of DLA Piper

Two top Sheffield professional services firms have completed big international deals demonstrating that the Sheffield corporate finance community is capable of handling large scale complex deals across geographical jurisdictions.

Accountancy practice Hart Shaw Corporate Finance and law firm DLA Piper combined twice to deliver two cross border deals.

The first saw the successful conclusion of the sale of Dialogue Group, the Sheffield-headquartered global mobile messaging and security services provider, to Swedish stock exchange-listed CLX Communications for £32 million, plus surplus cash.

The acquisition of Dialogue, which has offices in Sheffield, London, Sydney and Singapore, provides CLX with fast-track entry into key markets in the Asia-Pacific region, while adding many additional mobile operators to its tier one super network, which currently has more than 200 carrier partners.

Patrick Abel, corporate finance partner at Hart Shaw, who had been acting for the family of one of the founding shareholders over a number of years, enlisted the support of Richard May, head of corporate at the Sheffield office of DLA Piper, to steer shareholders through the complex sale process that involved potential suitors from all over the world, but eventually cumulated in the sale to CLX.

Then, shortly after the completion of the Dialogue deal, Patrick and Richard teamed up again to work with the UK management of ZND (UK) Ltd on the sale to Dutch private equity business Gilde Buy Out Partners.

ZND is the largest manufacturer of temporary fencing and pedestrian barriers in Europe. It is based near Eindoven, Netherlands, but its main manufacturing centre for fencing products is in Rotherham.

DLA Piper and Hart Shaw Corporate Finance advised the UK shareholders and executives on the transaction. ZND UK had sales of £43m and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £12m. Patrick said: “After representing the family for many years and being involved in the strategy to find a trade buyer for Dialogue, it was great to have been able to help the shareholders realise their investment. Having access to DLA Piper’s international legal expertise certainly helped get both deals done in a timely fashion and demonstrates that such deals can be done out of Sheffield.”

Richard added: “Our clients decided they wanted access to local advisers, but needed them to have the international credibility and experience required.”