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Sentio advises on MBO of Seabrook Crisps

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Sentio has advised the management team of Seabrook Crisps on their £35m MBO, backed by LDC, after eight decades of ownership by the founding Brook family.

LDC has taken a majority stake as it backed a management buyout led by chief executive Jonathan Bye, who joined in 2012, and the transaction will see a full exit for owner Ken Brook-Chrispin.

The investment will support Seabrook as it looks to invest in its manufacturing infrastructure, new product development and progress international sales opportunities. In addition, the team has identified a number of potential acquisition targets.

Jonathan Bye, chief executive at Seabrook Crisps, said: “LDC’s support for the MBO of Seabrook Crisps is great news and will help us to not only deliver but accelerate our growth plan. It will enable us to invest both in our operations to drive further efficiencies and flexibility and to increase marketing investment to continue to build the brand’s national profile.

“Importantly, this will drive the business forward with the same team that has put our winning brand strategy in place. As the main challenger brand in the category we wanted to keep momentum and the same culture and expertise that helped deliver our growth so far.”

The company began when Charles Brook founded a fish and chip shop in Bradford in 1939, and, due to a misheard “C Brook”, the name Seabrook was born. When his son, Colin, returned from service in World War II they created the first packet of Seabrook’s crisps, and the business had remained in the family as it grew.

It employs nearly 150 staff and is still based in Bradford. Its most recent accounts, for the year to March 2014, showed a pre-tax profit of £1.64m on sales of £24.5m.

Ian Marwood, Bridie Robinson and Andy Miller of Sentio provided advice to the management team with Bridie Robinson commenting “Having known Jonathan Bye and Daniel Woodwards since they were appointed to run Seabrook, we were aware that the company had an exceptional management team who have demonstrated great ability in driving both top line growth and operational efficiency. With LDC’s support the management buyout gives that team the opportunity to create significant additional value in the business and further develop this iconic brand and we are delighted to have helped in facilitating the MBO.”

Jonathan Bye added “We selected Sentio as our advisers because we recognised that their approach was perfectly suited for the sensitive circumstances surrounding any MBO. Ian, Bridie and Andy provided us with fantastic support throughout, robustly representing our interests whilst maintaining a truly collaborative relationship with both the Vendors and LDC to facilitate the timely completion of the transaction.