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Mobeus designs MBO of Kinneir Dufort

Mobeus Equity Partners has backed the Management Buy Out of one of the UK’s leading design and innovation consultancies, Kinneir Dufort Limited.  Mobeus provided a single funding solution of equity and debt to fund the transaction, which represents Mobeus's first buyout using institutional funding following recent changes to the VCT rules.

Bristol-based Kinneir Dufort has a rich history, tracing its roots to 1977 and going on to create a number of classic designs, including the UK's first pocket cellphone and the original washing machine detergent ball. Kinneir Dufort’s capabilities have seen it build up an enviable roster of global blue-chip clients including Roche, Unilever, Shell, Smith & Nephew, Honeywell, Coca-Cola, Thales and Mars. The business provides compelling integrated design development services incorporating specialist knowledge across strategic planning, branding, innovation, research, design, engineering, prototyping and manufacturing.

The Kinneir Dufort buyout sees Mobeus backing the business’s current Client Services Director Merle Hall and Design Director Craig Wightman to lead the company into its third generation of ownership. Michael Norris will continue to lead the business's finance function.  Mobeus has experience in the specialist consultancy sector, having previously backed Tessella, which was sold last year in a deal which delivered a 42% IRR for investors.

Richard Babington, the Mobeus Partner who directly originated and led the transaction, said: "I originally met Merle, Craig and Mike in 2015 as they were developing their ideas for the MBO and it has been a real privilege to work with them through to the culmination of the buyout. Britain is a world leader in design expertise and Kinneir Dufort is an integral part of its heritage. I am very excited about the business's future under its new ownership."

Merle Hall and Craig Wightman added: “We felt that Richard and the Mobeus team instantly understood the business, as well as our ambition and vision for it. We’re both immensely proud of what KD has achieved to date, and are excited about working in partnership with Mobeus, to realise Kinneir Dufort’s potential and achieve even greater things in the future.”

Freddie Bacon also worked on the transaction for Mobeus.

Mobeus was advised in the transaction by DAC Beachcroft LLP (John Williams, Michael Pearce, Karen Jensen, Hannah Gordon), RSM UK Group LLP (Rebecca Guerin, James Killing, Rob Carlton, Steve Jacob), CIL Management Consultants Ltd (Jon Whiteman, David Skuse) and Highwire Consulting Ltd (Annie Gray).

Management was advised in the transaction by Momentum Corporate Finance LLP (Rob Crews, Ali Boorman, Ross Bradley, Matt Stafford) and Osborne Clarke (David Ferris, Chris Yeo).

15 September 2016

15 September 2016