Forrest appointed to deliver X1 Eastbank
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Palatine Private Equity portfolio company Forrest has been selected by X1 for phase one of X1 Eastbank, a 310 luxury apartment multi-phase project in Manchester. Phase one, an eight-storey apartment building directly off Great Ancoats Street, starts on-site in March with completion due summer 2016.

Forrest’s Sean Connor, Project Director for the scheme, said: “This is a significant milestone for the business. We’ve built up a strong presence on a national level for our work and are excited to be using our expertise to construct such a high profile building”

Melissa Green, X1, commented: "We are excited to begin works at X1 Eastbank in conjunction with both Forrest and DK-Architects. Having already launched several successful PRS developments in the Manchester area, X1 is delighted to continue to contribute to this area of high rental demand, which is experiencing a durable under-supply of housing. Manchester city centre is ranked by HSBC as the second biggest BTL property hotspot in the UK and X1 Eastbank will offer a great mix of 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments for luxury living at a competitive price".

David Kirby, Partner at DK-Architects added: "It’s fantastic to be working with Forrest to deliver this iconic X1 development, our track record is proven to deliver high quality X1 buildings on time and within budget."

X1 Developments is a UK-based residential developer and investor, founded in Liverpool with a portfolio of over 30 successful projects in the sector.

Palatine backed the secondary buyout of Forrest in October 2013 investing £16m from their second fund.

Palatine completes £14m buyout of John Charcol and Towergate Financial Planning
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Palatine Private Equity has completed the management buyout of the mortgage broking business, John Charcol, and the financial planning business of the Towergate Group.  The Financial Planning business will be announcing a new brand in the coming weeks whilst John Charcol will continue to trade under the brand it has successfully built over the last 40 years.  

Palatine has backed Ian Darby and the existing management team of both businesses in the management buyout.  Ian Darby has joined as full time Executive Chairman of the businesses and will work alongside the incumbent management team. The John Charcol team will also be joined by Simon Knight as CEO with further senior appointments to both teams expected to be announced very shortly.   

Palatine and management have invested £14 million in the transaction.  In addition to funding the initial purchase price of £8.64 million, these funds represent significant additional capital for the financial separation of the two businesses, investment in growth and the improvement of systems which will allow the management teams to continue to deliver high quality service levels to their private and corporate clients. As part of the transition from the vendor, management plan to invest heavily in new IT and back office systems and as well as bolstering existing routes to market and building new ones.       

Ian Darby is familiar with the businesses having been at the helm of both before moving to Aviva Life in 2011 as Retail Director to implement its direct strategy.  Simon Knight is also no stranger to John Charcol having begun his career in the mortgage industry with them in 1987 before moving on to develop extensive experience of both broking and lending leadership roles with Private Label and GMAC-RFC.  Ian and Simon join the incumbent teams led by Warren Page (Financial Planning) and Walter Avrili (John Charcol).  Warren has successfully led both the financial planning and mortgage broking businesses since 2012 and will continue as CEO of the financial planning business. Walter joined John Charcol in 1984, he became Managing Director of the business in 2010 and is extremely well regarded in the world of mortgages for his contribution to the industry.   

Tony Dickin and Andy Strickland led the deal for Palatine Private Equity and will join both company boards. Palatine have now completed eight deals from their second fund which closed at £150m in June 2013.  

Ian Darby, Executive Chairman, said: “I am delighted to be able to lead this transaction to invest in a growing national financial advisory and mortgage broking business.   They both employ some truly great people and we have an excellent strategy to develop and strengthen its routes to market through intelligent strategies and investment.  The market opportunities available to both businesses are significant and we look forward to capitalising on these over the next few years.”

Tony Dickin, Partner, Palatine Private Equity, commented: “This is a great opportunity for us to invest in two excellent businesses, operating in sectors with positive market dynamics and growth opportunities. We very much look forward to working with Ian and the team in taking both businesses forward.”

Palatine was advised by Catalyst Corporate Finance (CF advice by Richard Holden and James England), Gateleys (legal advice by Mark Halliwell), BDO (financial DD by Chris Grove) and CiL (commercial DD by Sebastian Chambers).  Management was advised by Pitmans (legal advice by Sean Kelly) and Spectrum Corporate Finance (Simon Davies).

Character World honoured at The Walt Disney Licensee Awards
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Palatine Private Equity portfolio company, Character World, the leading the UK’s leading licensed bedding specialist, is celebrating after scooping a prestigious award at The Walt Disney Company UK & Ireland 2014 Licensee Awards.  

Character World was named Business Partner of the Year at the awards ceremony, which celebrated excellence in licensing for Disney.

The award was in recognition of a leading licensing business that has had a decade long relationship with Disney. A firm favourite in the licensed bedding industry for 16 years, Character World’s Frozen product ranges flew off the shelves last year in a number of retailers across the UK. They also introduced a premium sub brand, Kip & Sew, and launched a new, luxury collection, Disney Gold Label.

Danny Schweiger, joint Managing Director, Character World, said: "It’s fantastic to pick up this prestigious award on behalf of the whole team at Character World. There was strong competition from a number of leading licensees to win the award so this is a real testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone in the business. We’ve experienced an exciting period of growth in the last year and we are very much looking forward to an exciting future."

The shortlist and winners for each category were decided by a panel of senior Disney executives, who based their decisions on various relevant criteria including consumer engagement, product innovation, cross-category approach and communication across multiple platforms.

Palatine backed the £36m secondary management buyout of Character World in December 2014, investing £16m from their second fund.

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