London – 5 February 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – DLA Piper…

London – 5 February 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary (‘DLA Piper’) announces today it has advised the shareholders of Shearings in its merger with Coach Holiday Group (CHG), owner of leading holiday brands Wallace Arnold (WA), National Holidays and Caledonian Travel, in a deal worth £200 million. DLA Piper acted for an institutional syndicate, which prior to the deal held a 61.5% majority stake in Shearings, and was led by leading European private equity firm, Bridgepoint Capital Limited.

The deal was executed by a secondary buy-out of the Shearings’ shareholder syndicate by European venture capital company, 3i, an existing shareholder in CHG. On completion of the deal 3i will hold 67.8% of the new group and management 32.2%, of which a proportion is intended for an employee share option scheme. The merger of Shearings and CHG will create one of Europe’s largest coach holiday companies with a combined annual passenger of nearly 1 million and over 3,400 employees.

The DLA Piper team was led by corporate partners Polly Owen and Neal Shepherd, and assisted by Yunus Maka (associate), all located in DLA’s Manchester office, close to Shearings’ head office in Wigan.

Polly Owen said: “We are delighted to have acted for Bridgepoint and the other venture capital companies, managements and employees in this important deal. The merger reflects an increasing trend for secondary buy-outs amongst venture capitalists who continue to seek creative ways in which to realise current investments or invest in new ventures that promise to enhance earnings.”
Bridgepoint is an existing client of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary.

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