Clearwater International advises Waterfall Services on secondary buyout


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Clearwater International has advised leading independent contract caterer Waterfall Services (“Waterfall”) on its €25m secondary buyout, backed by LDC.

Headquartered in Warrington, Waterfall operates through two very strong brands in Taylor Shaw and Caterplus. Taylor Shaw operates in the education sector with contracts for state primary & secondary schools and colleges, whilst also maintaining a presence in business and industry. Caterplus, which services residential and care homes across the country as well as welfare charities and shelters, is regarded as the largest operator in the sector.

Waterfall has achieved strong growth since the original MBO of Caterplus in 2007, led by Jim Lovett and Vince Pearson, delivering a fivefold increase in turnover to c. €75m with staff numbers rising from 400 to over 3,000. YFM Equity Partners, Neptune Calculus and Kaye Enterprises have sold their minority stakes in the business, making a 5x return on their original investment. The existing management team will continue to lead the business.

Clearwater International partner Paul Jones, associate Oliver Wheatley and associate director John Davies advised the shareholders of Waterfall on the deal.

“Clearwater International’s extensive knowledge and experience of the business services sector made them an excellent choice for advising us through this secondary MBO. Their partner-led approach supported us through the various complexities of the deal, involving a very diverse group of stakeholders, to get the best outcome for all of us. The team’s commitment and ownership in delivering the deal enabled the process to run as smoothly as possible and we would be happy to recommend them.”

Jim Lovett, Chief Executive at Waterfall

“Waterfall is a business with a proven record of historic organic growth and successful acquisitions in the niche sectors of education and health & welfare. The investment from LDC will enable the company to continue this successful growth strategy, set out by its high-quality management team. We wish Waterfall and its management team continued success for the future.”

Paul Jones, partner at Clearwater International