Foot Anstey’s Private Equity team sees significant rise in 2021 deal activity

The Private Equity team at Foot Anstey LLP reported a record level of activity for 2021, completing 30 private equity backed deals in the calendar year, despite continued turbulence and uncertainty. Highlights during this exceptionally busy period saw the team strengthen existing relationships with private equity firms August Equity and Livingbridge, and their portfolios, and support the Access Group on multiple acquisitions.

Private equity-backed buyouts and portfolio bolt-on acquisitions are a deep specialism for Foot Anstey's nationally focused private equity team and these transactions were a trend for the markets during 2021. Notably, the Foot Anstey team supported August Equity across 15 deals nationally, including transactions for two of its portfolio companies, Agilio Software and AirIT. Agilio Software entered its next stage of growth with the acquisitions of INCA's specialist cloud-based dental software and MyHRtoolkit, which provides small and medium sized businesses with easy-to-use HR software. Meanwhile, AirIT acquired Reading-based MFG UK and Uttoxeter-based Infinity IT Solutions. *

The team was also instructed by Simply Conveyancing (backed by private equity firm Livingbridge, with whom Foot Anstey has a longstanding relationship) on the acquisition of Peterborough-based Pirie Palmann Holdings Limited. This deal was part of an ambitious growth drive that will see Simply Conveyancing become one of the largest conveyancing practices in the UK. *

Throughout the year, Foot Anstey advised TA Associates and HgCapital backed Access Group on seven transactions, including the successful acquisitions of Legal Bricks, a one-stop online solution for conveyancers, and Oosha, an integrated cloud IT services provider. The integration of both companies into the Access Group has further enhanced its offering in the rapidly expanding legal technology sector.

Matt Stoate, Head of Private Equity at Foot Anstey, said: “2021 was an incredibly busy year for us, with a noticeable acceleration of deal activity in the run up to the Spring budget being announced. We delivered a steady pipeline of work throughout the rest of the year, and this looks set to continue in 2022. We have been proud to have helped our clients to push boundaries, accelerate timescales and achieve ambitious growth goals.

"2022 is off to a busy start, and the year ahead is already looking very busy for our team, which is why we are currently looking to attract exciting new talent to help us continue to bring excellence and innovation to our clients."

* MFG UK is a managed IT, cyber security and communications specialist supporting teams in the Thames Valley region, while managed IT specialist Infinity IT Solutions provides clients with IT support and maintenance.

* Simply Conveyancing is a leading firm of property lawyers in England and Wales, specialising solely in residential conveyancing. It has over 200 employees based in Daventry, London, Milton Keynes and Cardiff, with plans to open in the north of England soon.

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