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14 July, 2006 - 14:21 By Staff Reporter

Hewitsons corporate finance team ensures £50m deal comes off

The Hewitsons corporate finance team has reported that the M&A market has remained strong overall, with continued high levels of activity. The Hewitsons corporate finance team has reported that the M&A market has remained strong overall, with continued high levels of activity.

The team has just completed a £50 million deal where it acted for the shareholders of the target company, Retail-J.

Hertford-based Retail-J, provides software to more than 3,200 stores in the UK and has customers including Selfridges, B&Q, Monsoon, Harrods and Vodafone.

The company was acquired by Torex Retail PLC which is a market leader in the provision of retail IT systems and is listed on the AIM market.

The Hewitsons team was led by managing partner John Dix with support from solicitors Paul Heath, Helen Drayton and partner Hilary Aldred in the deal which comprised £40 million in cash and £10 million in Torex Retail shares.

Hewitsons caseload increasingly comprises deals with a cross-border element. For example, the team recently advised on the acquisition of Cumbria based West Port Corporation for long standing Danish client FVS (best known for its VELUX products) to strengthen its portfolio in the UK, as well as the acquisition of Austrian company, Anthos, for Cambridge based Biochrom.

In East Anglia, Hewitsons has advised Ipswich Town plc on its share offer to members and season ticket holders to raise money to enhance its player budget in a push for promotion next season.

The corporate finance team also reports continued strong activity in the junior markets where AIM companies have found market conditions extremely good for raising further capital over the last 12 months or so and have been using the funds to finance acquisitions as well as further development.

Corporate finance partner James Lawrence said: “High value M&A deals continue to go through although recent stock market jitters may dampen some of the enthusiasm, particularly for paper deals. Generally optimism remains good, which is reflected in the growing levels of activity we are experiencing.”

Other deals which have been undertaken by the corporate finance team in 2006 include:-

• Advising on the 33 million Euros sale of French online direct marketing services company, Directinet, to AIM listed Interactive Prospect Targeting Holdings plc.

• A £3.5 million institutional placing for LiDCO Group plc.

• Advising AIM listed Cytomyx Holdings plc of the sale of its Cambridge based subsidiary Cytomyx Ltd to Serologicals Corporation, a global giant listed on NASDAQ.

• The acquisition of SJ Consulting for AIM listed Amino Technologies plc.

• The listing on OFEX of Cellexus Biosystems plc which develops novel disposable bioreactors for biopharmaceutical research and production.

To contact the Hewitsons corporate finance team telephone 01223 461155 or email jameslawrence [at] hewitsons.com

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