Lee Humble

Lee joined MHA Tait Walker in November 2019 as an Associate Partner in our Corporate Finance team. Lee has more than 15 years of professional services experience. He has worked in a number of different roles across banking and corporate finance sectors, both in London and in the North.

Lee will work with the Corporate Finance team to provide transactional, strategic, growth and funding solutions to businesses across the region.

Global dealmakers : Cross-border M&A outlook 2019

Our international network Baker Tilly has released a global survey on cross border mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

The survey of 150 dealmakers based in the UK, Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia asked for their views on a wide variety of dealmaking issues. The collated results can be found here, and they make an interesting read for UK business owners.

Key findings

  • Over three quarters of respondents looked at their domestic market as being most attractive and would focus on this more than looking overseas for acquisitions.
  • One third of respondents believe that the risks posed by cross border dealmaking are more than outweighed by the opportunities that the right deal represents even in the current climate.
  • Two thirds of overseas dealmakers believe that the mid market is most attractive (defined as deal values of between $15m and $500m) as they are often more flexible and easier to align with the overseas investor.
  • Key drivers for overseas M&A are responding to trade barriers and tariffs (77%), reaching new customers (75%) and acquiring new technology or Intellectual Property (73%).
  • Dealmakers are most concerned about regulatory hurdles (81%) and post merger integration issues (77%) when doing cross border deals.
  • Ongoing issues surrounding Brexit negotiations are an issue for 32% of respondents and partly for this reason only 4% percent of respondents were looking to UK to acquire businesses; this was the lowest of all the European countries and only investment in Japan was less attractive.
  • Despite Brexit uncertainties, the UK was attractive to overseas investors for its reliable infrastructure (100% of respondents looking to invest in the UK stated so) and for the valuations of its businesses (75%).  
  • Furthermore despite our sometimes negative self-perceptions of our economy, over 20% of respondents believed the UK was attractive for its availability of skilled labour and 30% for its political stability and legal certainty.

Our regional activity

These findings support the experiences of our Corporate Finance team’s regional activity.  In the last four years, we have advised on seven completed deals involving international buyers and predominantly they were to acquire new products/technologies and to access new markets.  Whilst the EU Referendum results did cause a couple of deals to collapse in 2016, there has been little obvious impact since, especially as the subsequent weakness of Sterling has made UK businesses more appealing to overseas investors.

Finally, from the UK business owner’s perspective, an overseas offer is no guarantee of successfully completing a deal as overseas investors still have to undertake their due diligence.  In most cases this involved legal, business ethics, tax, environmental, commercial and human resources reviews in addition to the usual financial and technical due diligence. The intense nature of these due diligence process reflects the findings that 55% of respondents say that they have had a cross border deal collapse.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss finding overseas investors, please contact Steve Plaskitt on 0191 285 0321.

We have welcomed a new Associate Partner to our Corporate Finance team

We are marking a successful year for Corporate Finance with the appointment of our new Associate Partner, Lee Humble.

Lee has 15 years of professional services, banking sector and Corporate Finance experience, having spent time in London and the North West. He brings experience as a finance director and business owner.

Lee will work closely with our Corporate Finance Partner, Steve Plaskitt, and the rest of the team, to provide transactional, strategy, growth and funding solutions to businesses across the region. The team will work with our newly established Data Insights team, to build on our existing service offering and help businesses use their data to drive strategy and value.

Lee said:

“I love the transactional environment of corporate finance and the varied experience that I have gained over the years plays well into this role. I’ve always been an admirer of MHA Tait Walker and I’m really excited to tap into the expertise they have here and the wider service offering across tax, accountancy and Wealth Management.”

2019 has been an award-winning year for our Corporate Finance team. Our recent work with the management buyout of Fabricom Offshore Services Limited achieved Deal of the Year at the Insider North East Dealmakers Awards and the team have completed a total of 11 deals across the year.

Michael Smith, winner of this year’s Insider’s Lifetime Achievement Award, will continue to support the Corporate Finance team with his 25 years of experience in the specialism. Michael will continue to strategically work with the team and our clients.

Steve Plaskitt said:

“It’s been a fantastic year for the corporate finance team and it’s been great to work with businesses across the region and help them to achieve their business and personal goals.  

“Moving into 2020, we’ll be working with our in-house data insights team even more to really help businesses to understand their financials, drive value and strengthen their business strategy.

“Graham Dotchin is head of our Data Insight team and when it comes to transactions or planning for future sale or growth, the team are focused on helping shareholders to increase value for every outcome. They also help clients to drive up things like profit ahead of fundraising, sale and other significant projects, as well as working on long term and short term business strategy”.

Site and Field Services gears up for growth following MBO

Northumberland-based engineering supplier, Site and Field Services (SAFS), has set its sights on contract growth following a management-buy-out (MBO).

The Ashington-headquartered firm, which supplies services and components to the oil and gas industry, was recently acquired in an MBO by John Thompson and Mark Berry, who bought the company from retiring director Peter Tighe.

Managing director at SAFS, John Thompson, has been with the company since October 2018, while Mark Berry has been working as a consultant to the business. John, who previously owned Moffat 2000, brings to SAFS his experience of the offshore construction sector.

John Thompson said:

“I have worked with and admired Site and Field Services for many years due to its excellent track record as a North East welding fabrication and CNC machining company. When the opportunity to acquire the business presented itself, Mark and I jumped at the chance to buy the company.

We have a fantastic team of over 45 employees here with second to none capability and I am excited about the possibilities to develop and grow the company at a time when North Sea oil and gas market is starting to see good levels of investment after many years of downturn.

My hopes are to grow the business by securing contracts with oil and gas majors and blue-chip offshore construction contractors as well as developing new and innovative products for the industry.”

The MBO was supported by the MHA Tait Walker team throughout with forecasting, financial negotiations and project management. HSBC UK also supported John and Mark by providing the funding required to take ownership of Site and Field Services – and legal advice throughout was provided by Square One Law.

Steve Plaskitt, partner at MHA Tait Walker, said:

“We were delighted to have acted for John and Mark as part of this important deal. Having worked with them both through a number of projects, including the sale of Moffat, it’s great to see them now as owners of Site and Field. We would like to wish the team all the best for the future as they move forward with their new business.”

John Hammill, corporate partner at North East commercial law firm Square One Law, said:

“John and Mark have a wealth of experience in the engineering industry and their leadership will no doubt drive the expansion of Site and Field Services whilst enhancing the company’s current reputation for providing high-quality products in a timely manner.”

Martin Glaholm, business banking relationship manager at HSBC UK said:

“We were thrilled to support John and Mark with the growth of their long-standing business. This deal further enhances the company’s visibility and position in the North East and we look forward to seeing the business flourish in the engineering market over the coming months.”

MBO completed at County Durham IT Services firm

A management buyout (MBO) has been completed at a County Durham wi-fi technology specialist.

Birtley-based KBR provides survey, installation and consulting services for wi-fi and CCTV systems, working with private companies and public sector organisations.

The company is now owned by managing director Gareth Tomlin and sales director Ruth Tomlin, who are set to implement a new marketing plan and increase sales growth.

Our Corporate Finance team advised the pair on the MBO, alondisde Ward Hadaway’s Colin Hewitt.

“We’re extremely excited for the future, we have a fantastic, talented team who truly hold our customers’ best interests at heart.” said Gareth Tomlin.

Ruth Tomlin added: “We are delighted to be leading a new chapter for KBR and to be able to continue to add even more value for both new and existing clients.”