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Smith Cooper Corporate Finance complete landmark MBO deal with Europe’s largest pure-play online garden products retailer

Press Release   •   Nov 07, 2018 12:18 GMT

Darren Hodson, Corporate Finance Partner

Smith Cooper are delighted to announce the completion of a landmark private equity led management buy-out of market leading online garden retailer. Primrose was backed by BGF and had grown to circa £40m of revenues per annum at the time of the deal.

Established in 2003, Primrose is Europe’s largest pure-play online garden products retailer, and is based in Reading, Berkshire. Offering its customers market leading garden and outdoor leisure products, the company operates internationally, sourcing products from suppliers based in the Far East.

The deal originated through Smith Cooper Corporate Finance, who worked closely alongside Mark Pearson, former CEO of Gardman Group and Solus Garden & Leisure, to identify several acquisition opportunities. Primrose was selected as the preferred investment due to its range of own brand products and market leading position.

Smith Cooper supported on raising equity and debt finance to form a buy-out which was ultimately finance by Rockpool and Oaknorth. Rockpool has now become the majority owner of the new group, with the management team investing in a significant stake.

In light of the successful completion of the deal, Mark comments “Primrose has already established an enviable reputation within the marketplace and presents a fantastic opportunity to capitalise on its existing position, whilst exploring new opportunities.

“I appointed the Smith Cooper Corporate Finance team to create this deal for me. They identified the target, raised the finance and supported me through the whole process. The team’s dedication to getting the deal done was exemplary. Not only were they innovative they also had the tenacity to make it happen. The team involved were highly professional in their dealings with vendors, PE house and primrose management.”

Smith Cooper’s deal team comprised Darren Hodson, Partner and Tom Joy, Corporate Finance Senior Executive.

Darren comments “I am delighted to have played a part in the successful completion of this landmark deal. The company has established an enviable reputation and is well positioned to capitalise on the current market place. Mark has some compelling ideas on how to accelerate growth for the business.”


Smith Cooper’s multi award winning Corporate Finance division were recently named SME Advisory Team of the Year 2018 at the Midlands Insider Dealmaker awards, having won the same award in the East Midlands just a few months prior.

Smith Cooper is one of the largest independently owned and preferred accountancy and business advisory firms for owner managed businesses across the Midlands. The firm specialises in providing intelligent, efficient and cost-effective bespoke advisory services to both corporate and individual clients. Smith Cooper has six offices across the Midlands including Derby, Birmingham and Nottingham.

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