The MBO and disposal of Donatantonio
To celebrate its 25th anniversary of leading corporate finance deals, HMT is reminiscing on 10 notable transactions from our archives. Having completed over 500 deals, producing a shortlist of 10 has not been easy but the MBO of Donatantonio and subsequent sale of the business have certainly made the list.
Founded in 1902 in London by Luigi Donatantonio who was missing the culinary delights of his native Italy, Donatantonio is since then one of the leading food importers in the UK.
Run by the Donatantonio family in particular the brothers Lou and Vince, Sheila took an active role as the business expanded in line with the British Food industry and the Company floated on the Main Stock Market in 1997. Vince was Chairman of Donatantonio until 2010.
Seven years after the flotation, Donatantonio was growing rapidly but the pressure of the stock market was hammering smaller companies. Therefore, Sheila decided to start a management buy-out process to take the company from public to private. HMT had been recommended to Sheila by a member of her team and she appointed Andrew and the HMT team to act for them on the MBO. HMT helped Sheila with the entire public to private MBO process and in January 2004 the transaction completed. Sheila became the Managing Director and a new team of directors was appointed.
Following the MBO, Donatantonio made a strategic acquisition of a food distributor and HMT provided buy-side advisory services on that transaction.
Feeling that the financial bubble may burst in the next few years, Sheila decided in 2007 that it was time to dispose of the business. After two successful transactions, Sheila naturally appointed HMT to lead the disposal process. HMT produced a robust information memorandum and identified potential buyers and funders. Just before Christmas 2007, Sheila and the management team sold Donatantonio to a BIMBO team led by Steve Asplen and funded by Beringea. The transaction appeared on Page 3 of The Financial Times on Christmas Eve that year!
Sheila retired from the corporate world after the disposal and is now involved in property projects. She is very pleased with the outcome of those transactions for both the Donatantonio family and the business. Beringea still owns a major shareholding in Donatantonio and the business is continuously growing.