Deal round up 07/11/02

Piper exits Sofa Workshop; PPM backs Barracuda buy; Advent takes stake in Neverfail

Piper exits Sofa Workshop


Piper Private Equity, the UK small and mid-market investor, has sold its interest in UK-based furniture manufacturer and retailer The Sofa Workshop to UK furniture retailer MFI Furniture Group. The total price for the business was £12.25m.


The Sussex-based furniture manufacturer was majority-controlled by Piper, which made its original investment of £1.8m in the firm in 1989. Piper made a series of investments between 1990 and 1993 and was involved in helping management grow the business. Sofa Workshop, which has 24 stores nationally and a joint venture overseas, reported turnover of £34m in 2001, achieving pre-tax profits of £1.2m.


PPM backs Barracuda buy


PPM Ventures, the venture capital division of Prudential, has supported the £7.8m acquisition of seven bars from the Old Monk Pub Company, which went into administration earlier this year. The acquisition was made by PPM portfolio business, UK bar operator Barracuda Group.


The acquisition is the fourth made by Barracuda in the past two years with equity financing from PPM Ventures and debt from Royal Bank of Scotland and syndicate members. The latest acquisition will  boost Barracuda’s turnover by twelve per cent. 


Advent takes stake in Neverfail


Advent Venture Partners, the London-based venture capital firm, has invested £2m in Neverfail Group, developer of business software. The company management, directors and original investors will also join this round of funding.


The additional funding will be used to target the small and medium sized companies and to develop the business in the US and mainland Europe. The Neverfail Server already provides services for a range of businesses including the London Stock Exchange, Oxford City Council and Pizza Hut.