Independent media agency completes a management buyout (MBO) deal

Wed, 22 Aug 2018 | MBO/MBI

The management team has bought out The Specialist Works from founder Jim Lewcock in a deal led by chief executive Martin Woolley and chief operating officer Parry Jones. Under the new ownership, staff are being offered a £2.5 million loyalty bonus.

Both Woolley and Jones were promoted to their current positions 18 months ago and are now majority shareholders.

Since its establishment in 2003, The Specialist Works has shown growth every year with the current forecast for this year at £165 million.

Woolley said: “I’ve worked here for over 11 years, becoming managing director around five years ago, and worked really closely with Jim in building the business up.

“Our whole heritage and roots were in print media and print management. As the business became more complex, it started to suit me a little bit more than Jim, who is a real start-up guy – start-up projects are what he is going on to do.

“Somewhere in between five years and 18 months ago there was a plan for me to take over from Jim and we started the process at the back end of last year.”

The MBO required taking on debt from Santander to complete the deal. Highstead Partners provided corporate finance advice and legal advice was obtained from PDT Partners. Tax advice was provided by Wilkins Kennedy.

Describing the humble beginnings of the company, Lewcock said: “From a single desk on Brick Lane to over 200 desks from Beijing to LA, it’s been an epic journey.

“Many of us have grown up together at The Specialist Works. I’ll miss the folks dearly and look forward to watching the continued wondrous growth.”

The Specialist Works has around 220 employees and operates in more than 40 countries.

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