The Top 15 MBOs in the UK in 2023

Sarah Cheesman, 29 November 2023

In the dynamic realm of business, the search for high-growth opportunities is one undertaken by many. Management Buy-outs (MBOs) represent a powerful yet often underestimated catalyst, often seen as a useful indication that a company is likely to grow in the near future.

In this article, we’re taking a deep-dive into MBOs—what they are, how they work, and most importantly, why they are such an important signal for those seeking high-growth enterprises to look out for.

What is an MBO?

MBO stands for Management Buy-out. It is a business transaction in which the current management team or a group of managers acquires a significant portion or the entirety of the ownership stake in the company they manage. In an MBO, the management team typically collaborates with external investors or financial institutions to secure the necessary funding for the buy-out.

This process allows the existing management to take control of the company, often with the goal of bringing about positive changes, improving performance, and driving the business forward. MBOs can be a strategic move for both the existing management, who are familiar with the company’s operations, and investors, who see the potential for growth and returns on their investment. The structure and specifics of MBOs can vary, and they are commonly used as a succession planning or restructuring strategy in the business world.

How Beauhurst defines an MBO

We consider an MBO to occur when management—either existing or incoming—secures a majority stake in the company through the transaction. In some cases, a company may claim that they’ve been acquired, but when we’ve looked more closely at the transaction, we can see that they’ve actually gone through a Management Buy-in (MBI). On the other hand, we’ve found that some deals that were publicly announced as MBOs/MBIs do not meet our definition because management didn’t actually take a stake.

The Top 15 MBOs in the UK in 2023

A good representation of how an MBO effectively indicates future growth can be seen by examining the change in the net worth of companies one year after they undertook one. We have tracked 1,655 UK companies that have gone through an MBO/MBI since 2011, 178 of which experienced a £1m increase in net worth in the following year. In this post, we’ve profiled the top 15 performing companies one year after an MBO was conducted.


Fullers Food

Date founded: 2011
Location: Leeds

Fullers Foods designs and develops frozen food products for the retail and food manufacturing sectors. They underwent an MBO in December 2022, with undisclosed investors contributing an undisclosed amount. In the following financial year, they saw their net worth increase from £11.8m to £21.1m—an increase of over £9m. This saw their credit rating improve to ‘normal’ the following January.

Prior to the MBO, Fullers Foods had made a number of high-growth lists, including Fast Track Profit 100 in 2012, 2019 and 2021, and Fast Track Profit 250 in 2013.


Luxury Family Hotels

Date founded: 2011
Location: London

Luxury Family Hotels operate a number of hotels providing family-friendly services in traditional areas of the UK. They underwent an MBO in October 2017, being sold to the management team and backers by Patron Capital. The MBO saw their net worth rocket from -£9.2m to £88k, a more than £9m increase.


Alpine Fire Engineers

Date founded: 2018
Location: Bury

Alpine Fire Engineers is a company that designs and installs a range of fire equipment, such as sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers. They have undergone two MBOs in their time. The first was in May 2018 funded by Soho Square, however, they did not reach a positive net worth until their second MBO.

This was completed in December 2021 by WestBridge Capital, who contributed £18.7m. This MBO saw their net worth move from -£-8.4m to £2.3m, a more than £10.5m increase.



Date founded: 2010
Location: Llanelli

Tinopolis operates a media production and distributor company. They underwent an MBO in October 2017, seeing management buy out private equity backer Vitruvian. This buy-out saw their net worth increase by over £12.7m, although they were still operating in a negative net worth figure (-£180.6m).

In 2019, they brought in a new COO, targeted at growing profit, and developing new income streams and investment initiatives.



Date founded: 2013
Location: Nether Alderley 

Quint develops fintech and business platforms for tasks such as managing financial data, price comparisons, and financial analysis. Their MBO was in March 2017, which saw Tosca Debt Capital Fund (TDC) contribute £10m.

In the following financial year, Quint saw their net worth increase by nearly £13.5m, taking them into a positive net worth position of just over £5m.


Mi Hub

Date founded: 1948
Location: Derby

Uniform providers Mi Hub operate across the UK, Europe, USA and Bangladesh and are experts in providing unique uniform solutions for businesses. They underwent an MBO in August 2019, funded by Lloyds Development Capital (LDC) and PNC Business Credit. Their most recent net worth before the MBO was filed at just over £44.6m, however, in the next year’s accounts, this increased by more than £19m to over £63.7m.

Mi Hub announced a new COO, Phillip Ellis, in May 2023, who came with over 30 years of professional experience in private and public limited companies around the world.


Wren Stirling

Date founded: 2014
Location: Nottingham

Wren Stirling, a financial advice business, has undergone two MBOs to date. The first of these was in March 2015 funded by Palatine Buy-out. The second MBO was completed in December 2021, with Lightyear Capital and management participation funding £101m. In the accounting year following this, Wren Stirling saw a £19.7m increase in their net worth, although this was still filed as negative figures.


Independent Group

Date founded: 2008
Location: London

Independent Group is a provider of validation and fulfilment services for insurance claims, including flood disaster restoration and drain maintenance. This company has undergone two MBOs to date, the first of which was completed in June 2009 for £19.6m. The most recent MBO was in April 2016, funded by management participation and Rcapital. This event saw their net worth increase by £21.4m, moving them from -£28m to -£6.6m.


City and County Healthcare Group

Date founded: 2013
Location: Nottingham

City and County Healthcare Group and its subsidiaries provide home healthcare and support services. They have undergone two MBOs in their time, the first of which was in December 2013, not long after the business was incorporated. Their second MBO was in December 2020, which saw Summit Partners contribute an undisclosed amount to fund the process.

While it was still in negative figures, the following financial year saw them reporting a £24m increase in their net profit total.



Date founded: 2011
Location: Waltham Abbey

Pet food provider, Jollyes, went through their first and only MBO in May 2018, contributed in part by Kester Capital for an undisclosed amount. Although their filings in the year prior to this event were in negative figures (-£2.3m), the MBO brought them a whopping £22.3m forward, giving them a net profit of £22.9m in 2019.

The company has since made a number of acquisitions, including The Pet Store and Bannerbrook Pets in 2021, and Penparc Pet Centre in 2022.



Date founded: 2012
Location: Rochdale

InXpress provides international freight and shipping consultancy services to courier companies, working with major partners such as DHL, FedEx, and UPS. They underwent an MBO in November 2020, contributed to by Hudson Hill Capital. Although the amount funded for the MBO was not disclosed, the following year, their net worth increased from £7.7m to £35.4m, a rise of more than £27.7m.


TTC Group

Date founded: 2017
Location: Telford 

TTC Group provides road user education courses to a variety of organisations, including the police force, local authorities, and businesses. They have gone through two MBOs in their time, the first of which was in July 2017, contributed to by Palatine Buy-out. In May 2021, they underwent their second MBO, contributed to by Expansion & Growth Financing. This event took them from a -£31.6m net worth to £1m, a huge £32.6m increase.


Boole's Tools & Pipe Fittings

Date founded: 1994
Location: Stockport

Boole’s Tools & Pipe Fittings is a manufacturer of a variety of pipe fittings for sectors such as plumbing, heating and fire safety. They have undergone one MBO, in September of 2018, where the family that founded the company bought it back from a listed builders’ merchant. This was contributed to by Leveraged and Acquisition Finance for an undisclosed amount. In the year after this MBO, their net worth increased by £48.4m, from £171.9m to £220.3m.



Date founded: 2020
Location: Gateshead

Aspire provides a range of managed IT and cyber security services to other businesses. They have undergone one MBO in their time, in March 2022. This was contributed to by Lloyds Development Capital (LDC) for an undisclosed amount, and saw their net worth increase from just under -£8m to £58.5m the following financial year. This is an increase of a huge £66.5m.

In October 2023, the company announced a new CFO for the business, playing a pivotal part in steering the company’s financial strategy and helping drive its continued growth – both organically and through acquisitions.



Date founded: 1970
Location: Deeside

Iceland is a chain of supermarkets that specialises in frozen foods. They have gone through two MBOs, the first of which was in March 2012. This was contributed to by Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, European Capital, Leveraged and Acquisition Finance, Nomura, RBS Structured Finance and undisclosed angel investors. The total funding was £1.45b.

Their second MBO was in June 2020, where a further £115m was funded through undisclosed investors. This MBO saw the company’s net worth increase from -£757m in 2020, to £545.5m the following year. This is a staggering £1.3b improvement.

Find out more with Beauhurst

From fostering employee engagement to aligning company goals, MBOs emerge as a powerful tool for enhancing overall performance and driving success. As businesses in the UK navigate the complexities of today’s dynamic market, we can see the significance of MBOs as a framework that empowers companies to adapt, thrive, and achieve their objectives with precision and efficiency.

If you want to find out more about companies that have gone through MBOs, the Beauhurst platform has everything you need. With millions of data points gathered from a wide range of sources, we provide the most up-to-date and accurate look into the UK company market available. To find out more, book a demo today.

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