Family owned Hillier Nurseries has acquired five new garden centres across the country in a sale from Wyevale following a competitive electronic auction process which saw Wyevale divest itself of over 154 sites.
This acquisition meant significant growth for Hillier, which was founded in 1864 and began trading from North Walls in Winchester.
Director of Property, George Hillier, who is the 5th generation of the Hillier family to run the business, said; “It was very unusual to have so many garden centres come up for sale in one go. We are an SME, family run business, so for us to have expanded our retail department as much as we have with the purchase of these five new sites has been just brilliant; a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s one that actually we could have easily missed out on if we hadn’t had the right team in place. It’s exciting for us as a business as the acquisition sits very well with our financial targets, as well as our mission, vision and values moving forwards. In terms of our partnership with Paris Smith, they were central to us getting the transaction over the line. There were lots of potential pitfalls, so what we really needed was an excellent legal partner to help us through that purchasing process.”
Partner Amanda Brockwell, who led the Paris Smith Corporate team on this deal said; “A large team was essential for this transaction and this meant multiple departments working together. We needed to gather as much information as possible to provide Hillier with a list of the good, the bad and the indifferent, so that they could make an informed choice about the sites they wanted to bid for and how much they wanted to bid. It was high pressure because it was a highly competitive auction; we had tight timescales to meet to make sure we didn’t lose out to other competing bids. It was an exciting time where we worked as part of a larger team with other Hillier’s professional advisors to get a great result.”
Other firms that worked on the deal included Nigel Le Bas, Grant Thornton and the acquisition was funded by the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation.