The BIMBO of Ground Control
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 BIMBO of Ground Control led by Simon Morrish and his wife Kim has certainly made the list.
Established in 1973 by Steve Harrod, Ground Control is an award-wining commercial landscaping and ground maintenance company operating both in the public and private sectors with national and large regional contracts for a wide customer base including Tesco, Royal Mail, Network Rail, Thames Water and the Tower of London amongst others.
In 2003, Steve decided it was time to dispose of the business. Simon and Kim, both with strong entrepreneurial spirits, were looking for a business to acquire and came across Ground Control. The business’ forecasted growth and a recent signed contract with Royal Mail made Ground Control very attractive to Simon and Kim who convinced four members of the current management team to join them and start a BIMBO process. Simon was introduced to Andrew at HMT through a mutual connection working in private equity and he decided to appoint HMT to provide buy-side advisory services on this transaction. HMT assisted Simon, Kim and the team through the entire BIMBO process including building the right tax structure for the deal.
In April 2004, Simon and Kim acquired Ground Control for £10 million. After a challenging time following the purchase, Simon and his team experienced years of success and managed to grow the business organically. By the end of 2007, they had tripled the business to £23 million in turnover and £4 million in EBITDA.
To strengthen their position on the landscaping market, Simon and his team decided to make a number of acquisitions. Ground Control’s management team was impressed with HMT’s services and decided to appoint Andrew and his team to advise on bolt-on acquisitions including the purchase of the landscaping and arboricultural divisions of UPM Tillhill in 2012 and more recently the acquisition of Litter Boss.
Since the acquisition in 2004, Simon and Kim have managed to take the business from a £8 million turnover business to a £150 million revenue company who was selected one of the top 1000 Companies to Inspire Europe (Britain was last year) and the Queens Award for Enterprise. Simon and Kim are still involved in Ground Control but have appointed a new managing director to take a step back and spend more time with their four children and work on other ventures.