Gateley Plc advises Just Childcare expansion


The Manchester office of national law firm, Gateley Plc has advised Just Childcare, the North West based nursery operator, on a series of acquisitions in recent months.

The financial partnership with Phoenix Private Equity has enabled the expansion which saw Just Childcare grow significantly during 2015, with the acquisition of 14 nurseries, seven of which were completed in the last six months. Gateley have acted on all these acquisitions.

A cross-discipline team from Gateley Plc advised on the acquisitions including Corporate partner Charles Glaskie, Corporate solicitor Hannah Fletcher and Real Estate senior associate, Simon Maddox, who led on the property aspects, assisted by Rachel Baker, senior associate, and legal executive, Karen Butler.

Charles Glaskie commented: “Just Childcare has a first rate management team. David & Jacqueline Johnson are experienced operators whose professionalism and hands on approach has been key to the success of the acquisitions. Under their leadership, I’m confident that the business will continue to go from strength to strength.”

David Johnson, CEO of Just Childcare, said: “We were delighted to be able to work with Gateley on this key phase in Just Childcare’s ambitious growth plan. The funding support of Phoenix Private Equity has enabled us to move forward with our expansion plans and further develop our strong foothold in the North West.”

The last Just Childcare acquisition was the conclusion of a busy 2015 for the Corporate team at Gateley, where they acted on numerous deals with a North West focus including advising the Management Team at Cheshire based Harman, the firm which makes the Ilford brand of black and white camera film and turned over £19.4m in 2014, on its acquisition by Pemberstone Ventures.

Early summer was a particularly busy period for the firm, with highlights including acting for award-winning tech firm, Myparceldelivery, on its £2m investment package and advising on Praetura Asset Finance’s £15m funding from the Royal Bank of Scotland.

In addition, the firm advised a number of household names, including La Tasca, the Spanish restaurant chain, on its sale to Casual Dining Group, the operator of Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas.

Commenting on 2015 Gateley’s Corporate partner, Charles Glaskie, added: “It was a really busy year for deal volume in 2015 with a surge of transactional activity in the North West. I’m sure that everyone is aware of the growth Manchester is enjoying at the minute, and these deals really highlight the success of the region to attract capital.”

These deals played a significant role in helping Gateley Plc rise from 5th to 2nd place in the 2015 Experian Corpfin M&A Advisor league tables for deal volume in the North West, and to move from 3rd to 1st place nationally.