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29 April, 2022 - 22:38 By Tony Quested

Birketts advises on trio of East of England deals

East of England law firm Birketts has been instrumental in the sale of two companies and also helped premium milkshake company Shaken Udder secure investment from private equity firm LDC.

Birketts LLP advised the owners of Norfolk-based Xcell Misting Ltd on their sale of the company to Johnson Controls. Xcell Misting Ltd is a fire protection company that provides a range of products and solutions for customers and boasts a client list that includes the BBC, Facebook, RBS and the NHS.

Johnson Controls, founded in 1885, is a multinational company that provides transformative solutions for their client’s buildings, creating safer and smarter spaces. The company provides a range of expertise and products including optimisation of HVAC systems, fire maintenance and security support.

The Birketts team working on this transaction were: Ed Savory, Macauley Alsford, Maisie Lee and Lorraine Porter (Corporate); Karl Pocock and Robbie Watson (Tax); Sam Greenhalgh and Ben Lewins (Employment); Andrew Ridout and Emily Mills (Property). Graham Lewis of GLX Ltd also advised on the sale.

Andy Cooke, Operations and Technical Director of Xcell Misting Ltd said: "Johnson Controls is a fantastic buyer for Xcell, taking our services to an international market. This change has brought about an exciting range of opportunities for the company.”

Ed Savory of Birketts added: "As one of only two companies authorised to supply and install FOGTEC High Pressure Water Mist Systems in the UK, this sale recognises Xcell’s prestige in the industry. I am proud of the team here at Birketts for once again displaying exemplary service for our clients and providing the impeccable legal advice you can expect from the Corporate Team."

An udder success story for Birketts team

Birketts advised the owners of premium milkshake company Shaken Udder on its investment from private equity firm LDC. Shaken Udder, founded in Tiptree, Essex, by husband and wife team Andrew and Jodie Howie, has grown into one of the UK’s top milkshake brands since being founded in 2004. 

Shaken Udder now has sales of more than £20 million a year and a range of products carried in some of the nation’s major supermarkets, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisions and Waitrose. The business has also launched a dairy-free range of drinks, Shaken Other.

LDC is the mid-market private equity investment arm of Lloyd’s Banking Group, which has invested more than £5.5 billion in more than 650 businesses in the last 40 years. The financial support of LDC comes with the additional insight of James Lambert, founder of global ice cream manufacturer R&R ice cream, who joins the board of Shaken Udder as non-executive chair. LDC’s David Bains and Mark Howden will also join the board alongside the Shaken Udder founders.

The Birketts team advising on this deal was led by Corporate Partners Adam Jones and Seamus Clifford, with support from Tom Utting (Corporate), Matthew Adamson (Commercial), Sian Kersse (Property), Karl Pocock (Tax) and Jonathan Insley (Employment).

Jodie Howie said: “Myself, Andrew and our team have devoted ourselves to Shaken Udder and to see this hard work culminate in LDC’s investment is just wonderful. We are confident this step, along with the support of James, David and Mark will see us continue on this fantastic trajectory. 

“We chose Birketts to advise us on this investment after years of excellent legal support during our recent rapid expansion. Their understanding of our business made this process so much easier.”

Adam Jones added: “LDC have decades of experience supporting businesses like Shaken Udder, and this latest investment will undoubtedly help the business to expand even further, so we really must congratulate Jodie and Andrew. 

“Private equity investments such as this are well understood by our Corporate Team, this being the latest in a large number of private equity deals that we have closed in recent years.”

Birketts advises on sale of Real Regulatory Limited

In  another deal, Birketts advised the owner of Real Regulatory Limited on its sale to life sciences consultancy firm tranScrip for an undisclosed sum. Real Regulatory is headquartered in Dublin and has offices in Malta and Ely, Cambridgeshire. 

The business has operated for more than 20 years, specialising in European regulatory affairs, quality systems and compliance for products including medicines, medical devices and drug device combinations.

Managing director Karen Real also brings more than 35 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry to the business and will continue in her role as MD at Real Regulatory following the acquisition.

tranScrip, backed by Palatine Private Equity’s Impact Fund, is a leading contract drug developer, working with more than 250 companies since their inception in 2008. 

The company’s pharmaceutical experts provide a wide range of services and hands-on support to their clients to maximise the chance of their project’s success. Their expertise includes rapid due diligence exercise, designing complex development programmes and defending regulatory submissions across various therapy areas.

Legal Director Nick Burt led the Birketts team, with support from Kevin Wilson (Corporate), Alice Wooler (Corporate), Olivia Toulson (Employment) and Robbie Watson (Corporate Tax).

Speaking after the deal, Karen Real said: “This acquisition secures a bright future for both our companies and I am excited to join their team. 

Nick Burt added: “The strengths of Real Regulatory and tranScrip will complement each other very well. Karen was a pleasure to work with and we look forward to seeing both businesses grow in the future.”

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