LAVA Advisory Partners strengthens foothold in education and training sector with AIRDAT EOT deal. Read more.

Rapidly expanding hobbyist business, Park Cameras, becomes a model for an overlooked form of M&A deal

The Background

As any keen photographer will tell you, there is plenty that goes into getting the perfect shot. It takes experience, skill and opportunity to get the right result. It was the same when it came to structuring the sale of family-owned Park Cameras. The single shareholder was keen to free up capital from the business to pursue other entrepreneurial activities whilst wishing to protect the family ethos and independence of this well-established market leader.

The Approach

Although its flagship stores were closed due to the pandemic, Park Cameras had seen a growth in online sales and it was well-positioned in the buoyant hobbyist market. The team at LAVA didn’t want to force a bad deal just to complete a quick sale. We were determined to hunt down and deliver the best solution. After exploring a range of alternative investment opportunities, we recommended a sale to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT). We knew that an EOT would return the right value to the owner while retaining the independence of a business that had a proud family tradition dating back 50 years.

The Result

By thinking differently and wishing to present all options to the client, LAVA was the first to introduce the opportunity for a sale to an EOT. Alongside the original owner and Park Camera employees, we were keen to see the business fulfil its potential. We went beyond simply structuring the deal. We took on board the desires of those involved in the business and kept Park Cameras independent rather than a sub-brand of a larger enterprise. We also have ‘skin in the game’ through an on-going mandate working with the Park Cameras management team as they embark on the next stage of the company’s growth trajectory.

How does the client regard LAVA?

“The team at LAVA have been great to work with. And the approach they used helped validate all my options up front so that I was able to make the right choice for Park Cameras and all of its stakeholders. The EOT is an exciting step on our growth journey and I look forward to the ongoing partnership with the LAVA team as we seek to expand our business in the future.” Roscoe Atkins, Managing Director and vendor of Park Cameras.