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January 2021
UK, £100m - £500m

Liberty advises the management team of Winterbotham Darby on its sale by Equistone Partners

Liberty Corporate Finance (“Liberty”) advised the management team of Winterbotham Darby on the agreement by Equistone Partners Europe (“Equistone”) to sell its majority shareholding in the leading supplier of chilled foods to UK supermarket chains to PAI Partners (“PAI”).  

LDC will also exit its minority shareholding in Winterbotham Darby alongside Equistone, while the company’s management will remain invested in the business. The financial terms of the transaction are undisclosed and completion remains subject to the relevant regulatory approvals.

Winterbotham Darby is one of the UK’s most dynamic chilled food businesses with a leading position in continental foods and a fast-growing plant-based operation. Through strategic own-label relationships with retailers and an exciting portfolio of brands, the team have a long-established record of creating, growing and leading categories. A highly flexible business model has enabled a reputation for innovation and speed to market. The Winterbotham Darby supply chain is underpinned by a sustainable business approach that includes a commitment to high environmental, ethical and technical standards.    

Equistone invested in Winterbotham Darby in December 2012. Since then the company has significantly expanded its supplier network, customer base and product range and has also completed the construction of new UK manufacturing facilities in the fermented foods and plant-based segments. Winterbotham Darby’s innovation and strong early position in the latter market, which is experiencing substantial growth amid increased consumer appetite for meat replacements, has helped drive the company’s strong performance in recent years.

Following the completion of the sale, Winterbotham Darby will form part of a new UK chilled food platform alongside Addo Food Group, which is being simultaneously acquired by PAI. The company will remain operationally independent and led by Steven Higginson and the current management team.

Liberty were appointed to advise the management team on their terms in the new group.