A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Manufacturer and distributor of generic pharmaceuticals

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

World’s leading provider of escorted rail holidays

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Premium river cruise operator

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Pan-Asian restaurant chain

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Plant hire business

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Manufactures and distributes medical devices

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

The UK’s largest indoor go-karting operator

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Pioneering UK value retailer

We invest in Western European mid-market companies

At Duke Street Private Equity, we have been investing in mature, mid-market Western European businesses for over twenty years. Our investment strategy is concentrated on four sectors: Consumer, Healthcare, Industrials & Engineering and Services. Typically we invest in companies with an enterprise value of between £50m - £350m. 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

Leisure Link

SECTOR: Consumer

Market-leading owner and distributor of amusement machines

Leisure Link demonstrated our capabilities in origination and company transformation to achieve rapid growth and a profitable exit. We knew the management team well and worked with them for a year to prepare the deal. Our deep knowledge of the sector allowed us to benchmark the business and spot its untapped potential for greater efficiency, acquisitions and the application of new technology to reach new markets.

Backing strong buy-in candidates

Leisure Link was formed following the Management Buy-In (MBI) of BLMS from Bass PLC in August 1998. We backed the buy-in having worked with CEO Russell Hoyle for over a year on a number of other transactions.

The acquisition is a good example of our MBI programme, where we devote significant resources to a small band of high-quality Chief Executives – often ones that we already know well in companies whose potential is clear to us. It also demonstrates our strength in the leisure sector.

A programme of consolidation

We look to target sectors that are likely to consolidate, supporting managers who want to follow a Buy and Build strategy of growth. At the time of the acquisition Leisure Link was the UK’s leading amusement machine owner and manager. The company managed some 90,000 gaming and other amusement machines in pubs, betting shops, bingo clubs, bowling centres and other leisure retail outlets.

In March 1999 Leisure Link consolidated its position as market leader when it acquired Stretton Leisure from Greenalls. The integration added turnover to the business but we also improved the company’s profitability through cost-cutting, closing half of its 30 depots.

This was followed in January 2000 by the acquisition of Maygay, a leading designer and assembler of electronic amusement machines and games.

Applying new technology

The Maygay acquisition played to another of our strategic strengths: applying new technology to old economy businesses. Maygay’s proprietary technology and skills in communication networks sparked Leisure Link’s transformation from a traditional manager of amusement machines to an integrated solutions provider using sophisticated technology.

Leisure Link’s acquisition of E-Cast Inc, a San Francisco based E-media business and technology partner, in March 2000 sealed the transformation.

With an exclusive licence for E-Cast technology in the UK, Leisure Link capitalised on its proprietary technology, developing new multi-media products that offered a wide range of entertainment, including games, betting, video, music advertising and e-commerce to a wider contemporary audience. New products included the introduction of remote monitoring and un-jamming of machines and the introduction of the ITBox, a fixed-odds betting terminal aimed at customers with more general leisure interests.


Having transformed the business through a solid Buy and Build strategy, we sold our controlling interest in Leisure Link in September 2000.

Our Team

Previous Next


The Duke Street investor base comprises traditional funds and pools of committed capital alongside co-investment mandates from high quality investors, which include Fund of Funds, Pension Funds, Insurance Companies and Family Offices amongst others. Our investors are long-term supporters of the private equity model and are located across the globe with substantial support from North America and Europe.

Duke Street has invested over €2.5bn in more than 50 companies over the last 25 years and has achieved strong returns in excess of 20% IRR throughout the cycle. Duke Street adopted a deal-by-deal funding strategy in 2012, subsequently raising committed capital to invest alongside its co-investment mandates. Duke Street itself invests substantially in each deal ensuring maximum alignment between Duke Street, its investors and management teams.

Latest News

Previous Next


Duke Street

Nations House,
103 Wigmore Street,
London W1U 1QS

Tel: +44 (0)20 7663 8500
Fax: +44 (0)20 7663 8501

Email us


You can use the email address above, or write to us for additional security. Enquiries will of course be treated in strictest confidence from time of receipt but we cannot guarantee the security of email (or other) communications with us.