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27 October 2017 | Firm News | Article by Gerallt Jones

Hugh James advises on LDC investment in Vista Retail

The corporate/commercial team at Hugh James has advised the management team of longstanding client, Vista Retail Support (Vista), the leading independent IT services company, on a £14m investment from leading mid-market private equity firm LDC to accelerate its growth and fund new acquisitions. The deal values the business at almost £30m.

Headquartered in Cardiff, Vista employs its unmatched expertise and customer service to provide specialist support to some of the biggest names in retail, hospitality and leisure in the UK and Europe, enabling innovation in cutting-edge payment technologies, robotics, virtual reality applications and artificial intelligence.

The business installs, manages and maintains in-store technology for many of the UK’s leading brands, including Lloyds Pharmacy, Monsoon, Odeon Cinemas and Pets at Home, helping to maintain critical infrastructure and high levels of customer service.

Vista, which was founded just over 10 years ago, generated sales of almost £18m in its last financial year (2016). From its Welsh base, it now operates across the UK, employing more than 200 people, including 120 field service engineers.

With its total market opportunity growing due to the increase in technology in retail estates, the investment will support Vista’s ongoing growth strategy, both at home and abroad. This may include funding potential acquisitions and helping the business expand into new retail segments.

The deal, which enables the firm’s existing backers WestBridge Capital and Octopus Investments to exit their investment, will see LDC take a significant stake in the business, while the management team will increase its shareholding.

Speaking about Hugh James’s role in the deal Richard Cottrell, Managing Director of Vista Retail Support, said:

“The corporate team at Hugh James, led by Gerallt Jones, walked us through the minefield, offering top quality advice throughout. They were instrumental in getting us to the commercial position that we wanted, whilst enabling us to concentrate on continuing to run the business. We needed clear, concise explanations of complex agreements, which they gave us along with great guidance drawn from their wealth of commercial deal experience.

Key to us was timely access to expertise and they worked late into the evening and at weekends to be available to us at a time that suited our business. All of the team at Hugh James were patient, good humoured and very understanding of the pressure we were under. Hugh James is an integral part of our support system and we wouldn’t have got the outcome we wanted without them.”

Speaking about the deal Gerallt Jones, partner and head of the corporate/commercial team at Hugh James, said:

“Vista is a true Welsh success story: a business headquartered in Cardiff which is a leader in its market in the UK and elsewhere.  It was only three years ago that we worked with Vista on its management buy-out; the company’s growth and success since then has been phenomenal.  This substantial investment from LDC will enable the management team to continue to realise their ambitious and innovative plans for growth.   I’m sure that there are more exciting times ahead for Vista.”

Author bio

Gerallt is a partner and head of the corporate and commercial team. Since joining Hugh James in 2005, Gerallt has led the team to be a leading player within the corporate and commercial market, advising clients including the Welsh Government, Princes Gate Water and the Development Bank of Wales.

Gerallt also has particular expertise in the sport and food & drink sectors, leading Hugh James’s relationships with clients in these sectors including the Welsh Rugby Union and Braces Bakery.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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