Palatine hits the jackpot with Playnation exit
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Palatine Private Equity has exited Playnation, a leading UK supplier of amusement and entertainment machines, selling its stake to the NOVOMATIC Group, one of the largest integrated conglomerates of the international gaming industry. The sale has delivered a 2.5x return and an IRR of 43% for Palatine.†

The Runcorn based business, which currently employs over 700 staff, owns and operates 20,000 amusement and entertainment machines across over 1,700 sites in the UK. The firm partners with high profile names in the leisure sector across holiday parks, motorway services, bowling centres and airports, with clients including Bourne Leisure, Park Resorts, Parkdean, Moto, Welcome Break and Roadchef.† †

The company was established in 2013, following a management buyout backed by Palatine Private Equity, and has since grown exponentially, recently securing an extension on its contract with MOTO, the UKís largest provider of motorway service areas.†

The NOVOMATIC Group, founded in 1980, comprises affiliated companies in 50 countries and exports high-tech gaming equipment to more than 80 jurisdictions. The firm operates over 232,000 gaming machines across more than 1,500 group operations including casinos and betting shops, achieving a turnover of more than Ä3.8bn in 2014. In addition to its headquarters in Austria, the company has production facilities and research and development centres in Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and the UK. †

With its specialism in family entertainment machines, the acquisition of Playnation provides NOVOMATIC with an opportunity to break into new markets, and expand its offering to the consumer across the EU. Playnation will now have access to the enormous client base at NOVOMATICís disposal, and can capitalise on growth opportunities both in the UK and overseas. †

Beth Houghton, Investment Director at Palatine Private Equity, said: "Since our investment in Playnation we have seen the business achieve exceptional growth in the family entertainment sector, capitalising on the buoyant market conditions. With the business now at a point in its growth cycle where an international buyer can take it onto the next stage, NOVOMATIC is the perfect strategic partner to help achieve Playnationís long term objectives. I have enjoyed working with Adam and the management team and wish them all the success for the future." †

Adam Hodges, CEO at Playnation, said: "Since building the business with Palatine in 2013, we have taken a firm hold of the sector and formed some strong partnerships across the UK with our clients. Having a private equity backer has given us the contacts and resources to develop a strong management team, and the potential for future growth is enormous. NOVOMATIC offers us a unique and exciting opportunity to break into new markets and establish the Playnation brand more widely in the coming years."

Clearwater International, led by Managing Partner Phil Burns and director Rob Burden, advised the Playnation shareholders on the deal. This is the second time that Clearwater has worked with the business, advising on the management buyout in 2013. Gateley provided legal advice on the deal.

WHP acquires Paragon Telecoms
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Palatine Private Equity portfolio company WHP Group has acquired Paragon Telecoms as the company looks to increase market share and broaden its offering in the fast moving telecoms industry. †

Founded in 1988, Warrington-based WHP employs over 300 staff and is the longest established provider of professional and network support services to the UK wireless telecoms sector. The company has experienced sustained growth with turnover increasing from £17m in 2012 to almost £40m this year. †

The acquisition of Paragon Telecoms follows the firmís secondary buyout backed by Manchester-based Palatine Private Equity. It will enable the business to significantly enhance its mobile network services and deliver to a wider customer base. †

Headquartered in St Helens, Paragon Telecoms was founded by Terry Flanagan and Paul Barrow in 2013 and has a team of 27 staff. The owner-managed business, which specialises in telecoms, engineering and construction projects, was introduced to WHP by Palatine Private Equity. As part of the deal, Terry Flanagan will be joining the companyís board as Executive Chairman. †

Rob Potter, Managing Director of WHP, said: "Paragon Telecoms is an excellent fit for WHP, both in terms of our culture and the skillset that the team will bring to the company. The acquisition puts us in good stead to strengthen our services and increase market share as we look to become the leading telecoms support business in the UK."

Terry Flanagan, Chairman of Paragon Telecoms, commented: "This deal represents another milestone in Paragonís exciting development. We established the firm to bring a fresh approach to the strategic, tactical and operational challenges that we constantly face in the telecoms industry and we look forward to offering greater and more innovative solutions to clients under the ownership of WHP."†

A team at Convex Capital led by Chris Froggatt provided corporate finance advice on the transaction, while Paragon was advised by Jon Ballard of Ballard Evans. Pinsent Masons provided legal advice to WHP and Slater Heelis advised Paragon.

Chase Templeton acquires Atlas Consulting Group
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Palatine Private Equity portfolio company Chase Templeton, the private medical insurance specialist, has made its biggest acquisition to date with Rochdale based Atlas Consulting Group being the latest part in the ongoing buy and build strategy. †

This latest deal brings in £13.8m annual premium income (API), made up mainly of larger SME and corporate clients. In addition, whilst co- founders and directors Jon Tuer and Liz Magnall are leaving to focus on their other business interests outside of insurance, all the remaining Atlas staff have joined Chase Templeton. †

Commenting on the reasons for sale Jon Tuer said: "Whilst Liz and I were keen to fully realise the value of our shareholdings in order to focus on our other business interests, we were equally keen to ensure both our staff and clients were going to be well looked after going forwards. We were also greatly reassured by Chase Templetonís proven track record in successfully integrating acquired businesses."†

This is the fifth deal Chase Templeton has concluded this year and the 49th†since it secured the backing of Palatine Private Equity in 2013 - the broker now generates over £125m API.† †

Warren Dickson, Chief Executive, Chase Templeton said: ďNot only is this the biggest deal we have concluded, strategically it is one of the most important. It will enable us to further build our business by widening our footprint into the larger SME and corporate market in which Atlas has historically been a strong performer. This supports a wider strategic aim to be among the UKís top five SME medical insurance brokers by the close of the year. Another key benefit is that thanks to the exceptional calibre of the Atlas staff who are now joining us, we are gaining further depth and breadth of expertise.Ē

This deal also reaffirms the companyís previously stated commitment to drive through fewer but bigger acquisitions this year having completed no fewer than 26 purchases of brokers and books in 2014.

It also means Chase Templeton now employs nearly 100 staff, almost twice as many as when Dickson was appointed in March 2013 following the securing of Palatineís backing. The company, which was founded in 2002, now protects over 110,000 lives.

Chase Templeton was advised by Shoosmiths Manchester office.

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