Middletons has closed out 2010 by acting for Harbert Australian Private Equity in its strategic investment in the Sumo Visual Group (Sumo), showing further signs that private equity is coming back to life.
Sumo provides a broad range of print, signage and digital signage applications for all types of retail, service and corporate sectors and enjoys strong relationships with a number of iconic Australian businesses.
Commenting on the deal, Middletons lead partner John Mann said: "The transaction involved the conduct of a full legal due diligence investigation and the finalisation of complex legal documentation within a tight timeframe.
"Whilst the existing shareholders have sold down their respective interests in the group, they remain both key equity participants ... and key members of business going forward, which will ensure it will be 'business as usual'."
According to Mann, Harbert usually takes an active role with each of their portfolio companies by assisting with developing and executing strategic business plans and, in some cases, pursuing add-on acquisitions. When asked about the current state of private equity investment in Australia and what the outlook will hold over the coming year, Mann was upbeat and optimistic.
"We are really now seeing some confidence returning to the market and a return to more normal trading conditions," he said. "No doubt we will see more private equity plays in the coming year along with those looking to exit in order to realise their investment returns."
MacPherson + Kelley also acted on the deal.