Equistone exits Together after 10 years

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Together Money

The founder of specialist lender Together has bought back the 30% stake in the company previously held by private equity firms for £286.5m.

The shares held by Equistone Partners and SL Capital Partners for more than 10 years have been returned to Jerrold Holdings, which trades as Together, taking the company back under the complete ownership of its founder and chief executive Henry Moser.

The company, which provides short-term finance, auction finance, residential, commercial and buy-to-let mortgages and secured loans, was first set up by Moser in 1974.

Equistone invested £115.2m from Equistone Partners Europe Fund II for a 30% stake back in 2006 and subsequently syndicated £20m to funds managed by SL Capital Partners.

To part fund the deal, the Cheadle-based company has issued £220m pay-in-kind toggle notes from a new parent holding company of Jerrold Holdings Limited.

Mike McTighe, group chairman at Together, said:

“Equistone Partners, who led the investment, have been supportive partners of Together for over 10 years and I would like to place on record our appreciation and thanks for their helpful guidance over a period of significant growth for the business.

“This announcement comes on the back of a successful issuance of £375m senior secured notes less than three weeks ago, demonstrating the strength of the Together business model and the solid demand from note investors to support the company.

“As a business, which has been trading for over 42 years, we are going from strength to strength. In addition to our recent note issuances, we successfully upsized and extended a £1bn securitisation programme in March 2016, reported record pre-tax profits of £90.3m for the year ended 30 June 2016 on a loan book value of £1.8bn, and have underwritten over £1bn of new originations over the same period in response to strong demand for our products and services.

“We have also recently undertaken significant investment in our operational loan processing platform and have made a number of high-profile new hires to further strengthen our customer proposition.”

Steve O’Hare, partner at Equistone, said:

“Together has demonstrated strong growth since our original investment and has built a strong and proven management team who have sensibly invested in their operational, distribution and governance platforms and continue to apply a common sense approach to lending.

“This has been a great success story and we are pleased to have played a part in the company’s development. The business is in a strong position for further growth and I wish management every success for the future.”