Disney and Marvel take over Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery ward
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Two companies backed by Palatine Private Equity have joined forces to help transform the children’s heart surgery ward at Leeds General Infirmary.  

Leading holiday price comparison site, icelolly.com, has teamed up with licenced bedding specialist, Character World, to provide 60 sets of bedding to the children’s ward at the Yorkshire-based hospital. Character World makes bedding, curtains and other goods featuring brands such as Lucasfilm, Marvel and Disney.  

Over the last 12 months, icelolly.com has dedicated the majority of its fundraising efforts to the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, the organisation that supports the heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary. This includes regular fundraising events for staff to get involved with such as bake sales, cocktail afternoons, quizzes and team games.  

The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund helps young people born with congenital heart defects, providing support to the children and their families as well as funding vital equipment, research projects and training staff.  

Andrew Latham, CEO at the UK’s leading holiday comparison site icelolly.com, said: "We have been avid supporters of the Heart Surgery Fund and have seen first-hand the extraordinary care that is provided to children and their families during really difficult times. We are very grateful to our friends at Character World as the new bedspreads have completely transformed the ward with some of the children’s best-loved cartoon characters." 

Andy Lees, Partner at Palatine Private Equity, said: "As a responsible investor, we place great emphasis on environmental, social and governance issues, so it is fantastic that two of our portfolio companies are collaborating to get behind such a worthy cause. We are always looking at ways to give back to the local community and the generosity from the team at Character World will certainly have a positive impact on the kids."

Palatine completes maiden Midlands deal
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Palatine Private Equity has invested in Westleigh Partnerships Ltd, a leading provider of affordable residential property, in a deal worth £65m. This represents the first transaction from the private equity firm’s Midlands office following its launch in December last year.

Founded in 1985 by husband and wife Chris and Judy Beighton, Westleigh is one of the largest housebuilders in the Midlands that focuses on the delivery of affordable homes to Registered Providers (RPs). The Leicestershire-based business, which also has an office in Solihull, achieved sales of around £100m, with EBITDA of more than £9m during the financial year to March 31, 2016. In line with this growing demand, the company anticipates sales will rise to over £165m by 2018.

Westleigh currently employs around 300 staff, builds 1,200 properties per year and has developments in locations from Northampton in the south, to Sheffield and Grimsby in the north and east.

The deal represents a partial exit for the founders and the business will continue to be led by Ian Jones, who joined 20 years ago, as managing director, with founder Chris Beighton remaining as Chairman.

Palatine has invested £21m for a significant minority stake in Westleigh and will support the company as it continues to tap into a rapidly growing affordable housing market. The deal was led by Palatine partner Gary Tipper and Investment Director Richard Thomas with support from Investment Executive James Painter. Both Tipper and Thomas will join the board as a Non-Executive Directors.

Richard Thomas, Investment Director and head of the Midlands at Palatine Private Equity, said: "In a fast growing and attractive market, Chris, Ian and their team have built a business well-placed to benefit from the high levels of demand for affordable housing. The company has a strong and entrepreneurial management team who have demonstrated their ability to grow the business to now be a market leader across the Midlands for affordable housing development. We’re delighted to be backing such a high quality business as our first deal out of Palatine’s, recently launched, Midlands office. Westleigh has some ambitious plans over the next few years and we’re looking forward to supporting the company as it expands across the UK and builds on its position in the affordable housing market."

Chris Beighton, Chairman at Westleigh, said: "This is an incredibly exciting time for Westleigh and I am delighted that the business has attracted such a high quality investor. It is a testament to all our staff’s achievements that we find ourselves in a position of strength and this investment signifies an important period of further growth for the company."

The deal was originated and led by Phil Burns, Managing Partner at Clearwater International and Austin Moore acted as legal advisers to Westleigh. Palatine was advised by Catalyst Corporate Finance, Gateley PLC and RSM with due diligence provided by KPMG, CIL, GK Strategy and JLT. Debt facilities were provided by European Capital and AIB.

Tipper is crowned Rainmaker of the Year
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Palatine Private Equity Managing Partner Gary Tipper was crowned the "ultimate deals king" after being voted Rainmaker of the Year at TheBusinessDesk.com’s annual dealmaking event.  

The Rainmaker Awards 2016 were hosted at the Hilton in Manchester to celebrate the North West’s corporate finance community. Tipper emerged the winner from a shortlist which also included Richard Hughes and Nick Cowles, both of Zeus Capital.  

Palatine has made a number of new investments over the last 12 months including the management buyouts of bar and restaurant brand The Alchemist and Bolton-based medical supplies manufacturer Vernacare. Palatine also backed the secondary buyout of holiday park group Verdant Leisure, which operates four holiday parks in southern Scotland, and the North East of England.   

The firm has also had some successful exits over the period including the sale of Wealth at Work to Equistone for £50m, achieving a 3.5x return, and selling its stake in leisure company Playnation to an Austrian trade buyer resulting in a 2.5x return.  

Gary Tipper, Managing Partner, Palatine Private Equity said: "It is an honour to be handed the award ahead of some outstanding dealmakers in the region, and I am backed by a fantastic team, who I wholeheartedly thank. It has been a great year. We have completed a number of stand-out transactions, but I think the one that stood out the most for us was the sale of Wealth at Work. I couldn’t have done this without the support of the team at Palatine and I’m looking forward to more successes in the years to come."

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