North East Connected

Simpson Group acquired in management buyout

WASHINGTON based Simpson Group has been acquired in a management buyout seeing the family founders hand over the reins of the £11m turnover business.

The print company was formed in 1972 by Bill Simpson and now employs over 100 staff in the North East, and at a satellite southern operation in Langley.

It specialises in point of purchase print for the retail sector with customers such as Tui, Next, Matalan, BETFRED and B&M amongst its portfolio.

Mark Simpson, along with his brother and sister as minor shareholders, will exit the business to pursue new interests. Current managing director Bill McNally, and finance director John Quinn will stay to lead the new management team through a period of transition.

In August 2018 the new management team will take over, led by managing director Dean Williams, who has a 30-year career in the print industry, joining Simpson Group as a YTS trainee and re-joining again as sales director in 2011.

Supporting Dean will be Mark Jerrard as commercial director, David Dowson as production director and Sarah Tishler as training and development director, all of whom have been with the business for over 10 years.

David Darcy of Vistage International, who has over 20 years’ experience working with the previous and new management teams, will join as non-executive chairman.

Mark Simpson said: “We have been working for several years on a succession plan to ensure we continue our growth into the future. I am delighted Dean Williams and the new management team will have the ongoing support of Bill McNally, John Quinn and David Darcy as they take on the reins and deliver an exciting future for Simpson Group.”

Dean Williams, speaking on behalf of the senior management team, said: “We have been closely involved in drafting the three-year business plan for some time, so we are excited to drive forward our future growth plans in both retail and in new vertical sectors, and are especially looking forward to continued investment in technology to create high value jobs here in the North East.”

Legal advice was provided by commercial law firm Square One Law and Ward Hadaway, with accountancy firm Tait Walker providing corporate finance support and funding provided by Santander.

Ian Gilthorpe, senior partner at Square One Law, said: “It was great to work as part of the Simpson Print team, alongside Tait Walker, to support the strategic succession plans of the business. Simpson Print’s new management team has substantial experience and an impressive collective reputation to drive the business forward in new and existing markets.”

Michael Smith, corporate finance partner at Tait Walker, said: “We are delighted to have advised Simpson Print’s shareholders on the sale of the business to its management team.  The deal ensures continuity for all of the management and staff and provides a great platform for the continued growth and development of Simpson Print, as well as keeping ownership of the Group within the North East.  It is a great demonstration of the benefits of working together on a deal of this nature.”

Bill McNally, current managing director, said: “Dean, Mark, David and Sarah share our vision and will bring fresh ideas and energy to the future operation of the business which is increasingly becoming more high tech.

“We have a fantastic workforce and high-profile clients so the ambition for the business going forward is exciting. I’m delighted to be providing support to the team in the coming months as we make the transition into new management.

“Our thanks and gratitude go to Mark Simpson and his family for leading the business to this point and for facilitating a smooth handover to the next generation.”

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