25 September, 2017
MBO at Driving Force as management team take the wheel
Specialist driving recruitment business, Driving Force Recruitment Ltd, has been acquired by its management team from gap personnel group owner Gary Dewhurst.
Founded as part of the gap personnel group in 2007, the Ellesmere Port-based company enjoyed strong growth, which led to the appointment of four directors in 2013, who have now undertaken the Management Buy Out. The business was divested from gap in 2016 to the joint ownership of Gary Dewhurst and Mark Roberts.
Its growth has been achieved organically and through acquisition, including the purchase of Bristol Driver Solutions in 2013. More recently, in 2016, Driving Force acquired Buckinghamshire-based Driving Forces Recruitment Ltd. As a result, the company increased its cohort of experienced drivers and geographic coverage.
Driving Force, which has around 300 drivers out on assignment at any one time, serves clients in the warehousing and distribution sector.
With operations in the North West, Midlands, South West, South Wales and South East, the company is able to serve clients on a national basis, which enabled it to deliver increased revenue growth of 72 percent during its financial year end 31 December 2016 with similar growth forecast for the current financial year.
Although run autonomously by its four directors, Rob Eyes, John Sutcliffe, Justine Buxton and Lee Buxton, Driving Force has received support from Gary and Mark and the gap personnel group to enable it to scale-up its operations. This will continue following the MBO with gap supplying a range of outsourced services to the company including payroll and accounting.
In addition, gap Managing Director, Mark Roberts, will retain his shareholding in the business and will act as a consultant to the board to support its growth strategy.
Advising gap personnel was Newcastle-based Ryecroft Glenton Corporate Finance, led by partner Carl Swansbury and Manager Alex Simpson. Legal advice to gap was provided by Simon Herbert of Beven Rose Solicitors.
The Driving Force management team was advised by Bridget Juckes from Wards Solicitors. Funding for the Management Buy Out was provided by Yorkshire Bank North East’s team led by Daryl Peart alongside Ian Stephenson, and Chris Huntington. Yorkshire Bank North East received legal advice from Muckle LLP.
Rob Eyes, director of Driving Force, said: “Establishing a national presence by operating out of key regions has enabled the business to achieve strong, on-going growth. In addition, working with the team at gap has helped create serious momentum for Driving Force, which we are determined to build-upon while we continue to deliver the highest quality service to our clients.”
Mark Roberts, Managing Director of gap personnel group, said: “Gary and I are very proud of the progress made at Driving Force and have total confidence that the management team will continue the success of the business as its new owners. We, of course, have a desire to see the company continue to grow, and therefore, I am proud to be acting as a consultant to its board, as well as gap providing outsourced, back office services to Driving Force.”
Carl Swansbury, partner at Ryecroft Glenton, said: “We are proud to have supported this transaction as part of our ongoing relationship with Gary and Mark. Driving Force is a great example of the entrepreneurial endeavours of the gap Personnel owners who have created the opportunity for a talented management team to take the reins at a successful operation through a Management Buy Out.”