NVM invests in The fresh Group

NVM Private Equity (NVM) has supported the management buy-out of The fresh Group (fresh) with £5.7 million of investment. The funding will help the existing management team to continue to build the business from both its existing client relationships, and by leveraging its expertise in the retail and financial services markets to attract new clients; across a range of sectors and geographies.

fresh is a multi-award winning creative events agency, specialising in the UK retail and financial services industries. The business primarily organises internal corporate events for employees, loyal customers and suppliers. These events are used as a platform to communicate, incentivise or reward. fresh also offers a number of other group services such as video content, design, branding and digital marketing; and recently formed an exhibition division offering high impact exhibition stands.

fresh is one of the larger participants in a highly fragmented UK corporate events market estimated to be worth c£1 billion and is on track to deliver an impressive 30% year-on-year growth plan as it builds on its position as a retail sector specialist, whilst looking to secure new clients in untapped industry sectors.

The business is headquartered in Cheadle, Cheshire with other offices in Greater Manchester and London. fresh was founded in 2004 by business partners Julie Besbrode and Nick Porter who, over the last ten years, have continued to invest in and develop the business such that it delivered turnover of £13.6 million in 2013.

NVM has backed fresh’s ambitious incumbent management team of Patrick Howells (Managing Director), Antony Wilson (Financial Director) and Damian Besbrode (Operations Director). As part of the buy-out, Julie and Nick will partially exit the business.

Patrick Howells joined fresh in 2007 in a business development role and became Managing Director in 2011. He commented:
“We’re delighted to be given the opportunity to complete the management buy-out, which is another positive step for the business and very fitting that we should achieve this in our tenth year. The whole team is focused on strengthening our position as a leading creative events agency. We look forward to building on the success of FY13, a record year, with another strong performance in FY14 having recently secured new relationships with the likes of Home Retail Group and Dixons Carphone amongst others, which will help fresh deliver new business of well over £3 million in the current year.

As for NVM we couldn’t conceive of a better partner. There was a lot of interest in fresh from many different avenues, but out of these options the team at NVM, headed up by Andy Leach, was the best fit for the fresh team.

Andy Leach, Investment Director of NVM Private Equity, commented:
“fresh is a highly-regarded business driven by a talented and experienced management team. The business demonstrated strong growth in the last three years, and has been able to differentiate itself from its competitors with its creative edge and frontline execution. This has enabled fresh to win new work with large corporates. They have an outstanding client base that includes Marks & Spencer, The Co-operative Group and Santander, and are now well-placed to enter new markets. The buy-out will enable Patrick and the team to build on the strong foundations laid by fresh’s founders, and we look forward to being a part of the team’s exciting growth strategy.”

Notes To Editors


Hurst Accountants (Management corporate finance and tax advisers) – Liz Gallagher, Tim Scott

Clarke Willmott (Management lawyers) – Ed Foulkes

Osborne Clarke (Newco lawyers & tax structuring) – Mark Spinner

Baker Tilly (Financial due diligence) – Gary Houghton and Russell Armstrong

Armstrong Transaction Services (Commercial due diligence) – Robin Illingworth

Continuum (Management due diligence) – Steve Wycherley

Aon (Insurance due diligence) – John Donald

The fresh Group is a multi award winning full-service creative events agency made up of 85 talented specialists covering Events, Design, PR, Video, Digital, Exhibitions and Print. fresh provides a truly joined-up approach to its clients by not only combining all or some of these in-house creative disciplines to a wide variety of communications and marketing projects but also executing these technically on the ground. Working for a range of national and international names, including Marks & Spencer, Clarks, McDonalds, DFS, FitFlop, The Big Bang Fair, Halfords and William Hill, the fresh team has been recognised by winning accolades such as The Marketing Industry Events Agency of the Year for the past four years and being crowned Number 1 agency on the Recommended Agency Register (RAR) outside of London. In 2013 fresh won the Grand Prix at the RAR awards and Best in Events at the RAR awards in 2014 for the second year running. www.freshwebsite.co.uk

NVM Private Equity
is independently owned with nearly 30 years’ experience of investing in unquoted UK businesses. NVM is a generalist investor, managing over £290 million of funds, and is differentiated by having executives living and working in regional business communities throughout the UK. NVM seeks investment opportunities in UK businesses which have the right mix of growth potential and market vision. They may be looking to grow organically, acquire another business or secure a management buy-out. Typically, NVM looks to invest between £2 million and £10 million in each transaction. www.nvm.co.uk

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