The MBO of Sportsworld
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 Management Buy-Out of Sportsworld Group and association with Chad Lion-Cachet is certainly on the list.
Sportsworld is a leading UK corporate hospitality, events management and sponsor services provider, creating, delivering and managing world class events for over 35 years.
Chad joined Sportsworld as the Managing Director in October 2003 after several years working in New York and the City in a variety of senior management roles and led the Sports, Media and Entertainment division of global professional services firm Marsh & McLennan.
In 2004, Chad initiated the opportunity to lead an MBO of Sportsworld. Chad was introduced to HMT and he was impressed by the firm’s credentials and deal activity in the event and sports hospitality sector. He appointed HMT to full buy-side advisory services to acquire the business. HMT advised Chad on the deal structure as well as identifying both debt and equity funding options. In December 2004, Chad acquired the full share capital of Sportsworld.
Following further acquisitions supported by HMT and after years of successful growth, Chad saw the opportunity to sell the business and called on HMT to assist him in the disposal process. HMT supported Chad throughout the entire sale process and in April 2008, TUI Travel plc acquired Sportsworld, providing investors with a good return on investment.
Chad stayed at Sportsworld as Chief Executive until after the London Olympics in 2012 when the company posted a record turnover in excess of £30m. He was then promoted to Chief Executive of the Events International Group, TUI’s event division that at its peak had a portfolio of 14 businesses.
Chad left TUI in December 2016 to establish an integrated event services group and once again turned to HMT for support. With his strong experience of the events industry, Chad identified the right platform business on which to implement his buy and build strategy and HMT advised Chad on his Management Buy-In of leading event and creative agency Smyle Creative in April 2018. HMT identified private equity firm Rockpool Investments as the right funding partner to support the acquisition and Chad was appointed Executive Chairman. Their ambition is to take advantage of increasing growth in the ‘experience economy’ and in addition to developing organic growth, build the service proposition and scale of the business through complimentary acquisitions.