A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Pan-Asian restaurant chain

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Online travel agency

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Leading plant hire business

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Leading UK dentistry chain

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Pioneering UK value retailer

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Specialist provider of healthcare services

We invest in Western European mid-market companies

Duke Street Private Equity has been investing in mature, mid-market West European businesses for over twenty years, concentrating our investment strategy on four sectors: Consumer, Healthcare, Industrials & Engineering and Services. Typically we invest in companies with an enterprise value of between £50m - £250m. Our strategy is based on our ability to identify unique opportunities and add value to each business we acquire. We aim to transform the prospects of the companies that we invest in.

Origination beyond the obvious

We focus our efforts on transactions developed on an exclusive basis. We actively seek complex deals which other investors may avoid if we think they have underlying growth potential.

Value creation

Our mission is to accelerate the growth of the companies that we buy. We help our companies grow both organically and through acquisition.

Supportive Structure

We have developed a robust approach to building relationships between ourselves, the CEOs of our portfolio businesses and our Operating Partners.

Sector focus

We believe sector knowledge is critical, which is why we have dedicated teams focusing on our four core sectors. This, alongside the deep industry experience of our Operating Partners, has allowed us to create a proven track record of successfully building companies.

We invest in companies with strong brands serving consumers across multiple channels

We have extensive experience in the consumer sector: in restaurants with wagamama, in the gaming sector through our investment in companies such as Gala Bingo, Sporting Index and Leisure Link. In leisure, we have invested successfully in both niche hotel operators and fitness and leisure businesses. Two of our investments in particular – SandpiperCI and The Original Factory Shop – display our willingness to back retail management teams with ambitious growth plans, even at a time when the sector as a whole was experiencing tough trading.

We also have a wealth of experience of working with management teams in consumer branded products. At Simple, we backed an ambitious growth plan for the business to become the UK’s leading skin care provider by volume, overtaking companies such as Nivea and L’Oreal in the process.

See our Portfolio for a more in-depth analysis of these and further Consumer investments.

Duke Street is a long-term investor in the healthcare space, making our first investment in 1997

Since then we have deployed c. €700m in the sector, backing great management teams to deliver transformational business plans.

We believe the sector to be structurally attractive: it is defensive and benefits from significant barriers to entry due to the complexity of the products and services involved.

We also believe that it lends itself well to our investment strategy. Europe is home to a large number of strong management teams, and high value-added businesses which deliver outstanding patient outcomes. Such businesses typically offer multiple routes to value creation. Even the most mature sub-sectors remain fragmented and so there is significant potential for buy and build.

Please see our Portfolio for a more in-depth analysis of our past and present Healthcare investments.

We cover a broad range of Industrials sub-sectors with a particular focus on aerospace & defence, engineering, manufacturing & security

We look to invest in companies with differentiated product or process IP, operating in attractive end-markets, with scope to affect operational transformation through inter alia, a build-up in specific niches, technological changes, or product / geographic diversification.

We back management teams with a clear strategic vision as well as a strong operational focus; and our in-depth understanding of the sector means we are well-placed to work in partnership with such teams.

Our investments in this sector include Deloro Stellite, the specialist engineering group, and filtration solutions provider Madison Filter. See our Portfolio for a more in-depth analysis of these and further investments.

We invest in services businesses with the potential for operational improvement and rapid growth

The services sector encompasses a wide range of sub-sectors, each subject to its own dynamics but often with outsourcing as a key driver. We identify macro trends that will drive above average market growth, and then back businesses providing value added skills and products to their customers in those markets. We are particularly attracted where there is the potential for operational improvement as well as organic growth. We partner with best-in-class management teams providing support, capital and expertise where this is required and materially adds value.

We have considerable experience in the sector, complemented by a large network of industry contacts. Investments we have made in this sector include Ardent Hire Solutions, a heavy equipment hire business, Payzone, a consumer payments business, and the specialist pensions group Xafinity. See our Portfolio for a more in-depth analysis of these and further Services investments.

Our Portfolio

Getty Images

SECTOR: Services

World leader in distributing imagery for creative professionals

Our skills in Buy and Build are one of the key factors that make Duke Street’s investment approach stand out. With the Getty Images deal, those skills were on display as we helped two ambitious and far-sighted entrepreneurs first to professionalise what was a cottage industry, then to grow organically through effective marketing and use of digital technology, and finally to expand through important add-on acquisitions. Our investment helped put the company on a path to even greater growth later on.

Backing managers with vision

In 1994 we became a founder investor in Getty Images, alongside the Getty Family Trust, when we acquired Tony Stone Images for £30 million.

Tony Stone was the UK's leading independent stock photography distribution company. This fast-growing business was one of the first to put stock agencies on the map as key suppliers of image content to creative professionals, mainly advertising agencies. The company was also ahead of the field in making the technological advances needed to take stock photography digital and online.

Following the acquisition, Getty Images became the world’s leading distributor of stock and archive imagery.

Long-standing relationships

Before the acquisition we spent a lot of time working with the buy-in team, looking at other potential targets in the same sector. At this and every stage of the deal we benefited from the long-standing relationships we’d built with the team, Jonathan Klein and Mark Getty.

We took the lead role in structuring the transaction and arranging the necessary debt finance. And we later supported the company with various add-on acquisitions, notably Hulton Deutsch and Fabulous Footage.

Flotation on Nasdaq and Exit

In July 1996, Getty Images was floated on Nasdaq. Throughout the IPO process, we worked closely with the MBI team and the Getty Trust. Flotation meant Getty Images was able to pursue an aggressive consolidation strategy, which led to the acquisition of Image Bank from Eastman Kodak and Visual Communications from United Business Media.

We realised part of our shareholding on IPO and the balance following the end of the lock-up period.

Our Team

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Duke Street

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