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Osborne Clarke advises Focus Group on Bowmark investment


Written on 11 March 2020

International legal practice Osborne Clarke has advised Focus Group, a leading UK provider of communications and IT solutions, and its shareholders and management team, on the sale of a significant minority stake to Bowmark, the mid-market private equity firm.

As part of the transaction, additional funding of over £150 million has been made available to accelerate the company’s successful acquisition programme.

Founded in 2004 by Ralph Gilbert and Chris Goodman, Focus provides a wide portfolio of bespoke, integrated communications and technology solutions including hosted voice, cloud applications, mobile, connectivity and IT services. These are delivered as a managed service to more than 15,000 businesses across the UK. Headquartered at Shoreham-by-Sea near Brighton on the South Coast, Focus has revenues of over £80 million and employs approximately 300 staff.

Focus has achieved strong organic growth by providing cost-effective, integrated solutions across a wide range of products, with a strong emphasis on customer service. It has also acquired and integrated eight businesses over the past two years to expand its talent pool, build scale and enhance its product range.

The transaction highlights Osborne Clarke’s expertise in the communications sector, with our team having advised a number of businesses in this space in recent years.  Many of these transactions involved private equity investment, where Osborne Clarke’s market-leading Management Advisory practice can provide experienced advice to owner-managers.

Focus Group co-CEO Chris Goodman said “Osborne Clarke provided first class commercial and technical advice throughout the course of our transaction. The team had a strong understanding of the wider ICT sector as well as a deep appreciation of what was important to us as owner-managers.

The Osborne Clarke team advising Focus, which included teams across eight service lines, was led by Associate Director Mike Freer and Partner Greg Leyshon.  They were supported by Associate Directors Pippa Byrne and Vicky Dudding, Senior Associate Robert Pook, Associates Charles Sunley, Busayo Yusuff and Christopher Stanton (all Corporate / Private Equity) and Trainee Solicitor James Robertson. Partner Max Millington led the Finance team, supported by Legal Director Rebecca Scott, and Senior Associates Monika Gajic and James Hunt. Legal Director Clare Burman (Financial Regulatory),  Associate Director Dan Sharman (Incentives),  Associate Director James Hamon (Tax) and Associate Lara Flynn (Employment) provided specialist advice.

Osborne Clarke’s Corporate team is considered a go-to practice for many companies in the tech, media and comms sectors, working with global businesses to fast-growth start-ups and market challengers. The team advises at every stage of company development across all corporate issues, from equity and debt fundraisings to M&A, IPOs and JVs.