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MBO of Nirvana Holdings Limited

29th November 2012


Zeus Capital has advised the vendor of Nirvana Holdings Limited (trading as “Avalon”) on the management buyout backed by Lonsdale Capital Partners (Lonsdale). The deal value has not been disclosed.

North West based, Avalon is one of the UK’s leading independent pre-paid funeral plan providers, with successful operations throughout the UK and Southern Europe where it serves the UK ex-pat market.

Avalon offers market leading pre-paid funeral plans direct to the public and via independent funeral directors. A range of plans are sold offering different levels of service including, for example, type of coffin/casket, inclusion of a chapel of rest, number of funeral cars and other aspects of the arrangements. Plans can be paid for upfront as a lump sum or via
a flexible instalment plan allowing people, to save towards the future cost and protect against the rising cost of funerals.

The company was founded in 1990 by Mike Cooper who was the sole shareholder up to the completion of the management buyout.

As part of the transaction, Avalon will be led by newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Steve Chambers, former Chief Commercial Officer of Yell Group plc. Steve will lead the the existing management team which includes, Mark Dugdale (Finance Director), Jason Gardner (Operations Director), John Shepherd (Sales Director) and Peter Leech (European Operations
Director).

Lonsdale Capital Partners is a private equity firm operating at the smaller end of the private equity market the UK and, selectively, Northern Europe across a wide variety of sectors. Launched at the beginning of 2010 by David Gasparro (previously Head of Distribution, Threadneedle), Ross Finegan (JP Morgan Partners), and Alan Dargan (founder, Lansdowne Capital), they work in close partnership with management teams and vendors to grow their franchises, providing the finance, expertise and contact base to help businesses reach their full potential.

The Zeus Capital deal team comprised Tremayne Ducker, Alexei Callender and Gillian Bolton.

Tremayne Ducker, Director, commented:
“Lonsdale has backed a niche business with a market leading proposition in a rapidly growing market. Further, it has backed an incumbent management team that has grown the business significantly within recent years and supplemented that with the CEO of real pedigree in Steve Chambers. We are delighted to have been able to achieve a great outcome for all parties in this deal given significant complexities contained within the businesses unique product and corporate constitutions. It will be exciting to see Avalon develop over the coming years.”