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Fidelity Equity Partners leads GBP33m management buyout of Picsolve International

Fidelity Equity Partners, which focus on high-growth, leveraged buyout investments in Europe and North America, has completed a GBP33m management buyout of London-based Picsolve Internatio

Fidelity Equity Partners, which focus on high-growth, leveraged buyout investments in Europe and North America, has completed a GBP33m management buyout of London-based Picsolve International, a provider and operator of photographic systems and services for leisure attraction operators, from investors led by Meridian Equity.

Fidelity Equity Partners, whose investment was supported by a senior debt package of GBP13m provided by Royal Bank of Scotland, will support Picsolve’s expansion plans, focusing predominantly on organic and acquisitive growth in Europe, the US, South-East Asia and the Middle East. Partner Nick Martin and vice-president Stephen Findlay led the investment for Fidelity Equity Partners and have joined Picsolve’s board of directors.

Picsolve provides systems that take photographs of people on high-speed rollercoasters and other attractions at theme parks and visitor attractions including Alton Towers and the London Eye in the UK, Futuroscope in France, Port Aventura in Spain, the three Legoland parks in Europe, Busch Gardens in Florida and Madame Tussauds globally. The company says nearly 700 million people visit theme parks annually.

Established in 1994, Picsolve is headquartered in Derby, with more than 500 staff at offices in Europe, the US, Hong Kong and New Zealand, and has more than 300 installations throughout the world.

‘We are delighted to be investing in Picsolve, the market leader in this exciting and growing market, which has historically proved remarkably resilient to economic downturn,’ Martin says. ‘With proprietary technology and outstanding customer service at its core, Picsolve remains a clear step ahead of its competition, as demonstrated by the strength of its relationships with leisure attraction operators and its ability to take market share rapidly.’

Picsolve chief executive Gary Cormack says: ‘Fidelity Equity Partners’ global network and hands-on business building experience will be invaluable for us. Our technology and expertise means that theme parks are able to offer an additional brand-strengthening opportunity to their guests. With Fidelity Equity Partners we look forward to going through the next stage of development.’

Findlay adds: ‘Given the difficult banking environment and economic climate, we are especially pleased to deliver smoothly a leveraged buyout of a highly seasonal consumer-facing business.

‘This is a clear demonstration of Fidelity Equity Partners’ ability to identify, support and invest in high-quality service businesses. We will use the Fidelity network in the US and Asia to help Picsolve penetrate those markets further and its IT know-how to help Picsolve develop its systems and services.’

Established last year, Fidelity Equity Partners manages a USD500m international private equity fund focused on investing in established mid-sized businesses in North America and Europe, with enterprise values between GBP25m and GBP75 million and growing organically at more than 10 percent a year. Picsolve is the third European investment by Fidelity Equity Partners’ London office.

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