Bradford-based live event provider of AV solutions Universal AV, has undergone a management buy-out (MBO) from owner and founder Carl Harris. MD Nick Fitzpatrick, Jon Eden (director Universal Live), Andy Robinson (financial director) and Kirsty Waine (MD Universal Live), led the MBO, although the sum paid has not been disclosed.
Universal AV and Universal Live have been acquired by a new holding company, Universal Group Holdings, controlled by the existing management team.
The acquisition includes the company’s headquarters in Bradford, as well as the offices in Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle, Rossendale and Rugby, all staff, assets and order book.
The team said the businesses would benefit from further integration. The new owners told CN there had been no redundancies and cited Ben Phillips promotion to operations director on the Universal Live side as evidence of a drive for growth and a policy of promotion from within.
Fitzpatrick says: “We have some ambitious growth planss. In the industry we are renowned for our integration and installation services, however we truly see ourselves as a double threat! We have one of the largest fleet of Panasonic projectors throughout the UK, for use in live events. Combined Universal is a true force to reckon with.”
Waine says she sees the management buyout as “an exciting opportunity to collaborate and explore our joint customer base. Universal as a group has a strong team and service offering which we aim to develop”.
Consolidated accounts for the Universal AV Services group show a profit of £1m for the year-ending 31 December 2014, on turnover of £13.6m.