Accolade Group

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In September 2005, John Allen, the Chairman and founder of Accolade Group, leaned back in the armchair in his office and reflected on the developments in his company over the past nine years. Allen had a lifelong career in the UK leisure industry, culminating in his founding of the Accolade Group through a £279m management buy-in (MBI) of the Accolade Bingo business from Guss, a quoted UK-based leisure company, in 1997. Allen had a vision that under his leadership Accolade could grow from being a distressed asset inside a large quoted company into Europe's largest integrated gaming and betting business. Since the MBI in 1997, Allen had led Accolade through three more private equity-backed management buyouts (MBOs) and three sector-significant acquisitions, building the group throughout the process into the UK's largest gaming and betting company. It was just last month that Accolade had completed its fourth MBO. In the transaction, Permira, one of Europe's leading private equity firms, agreed to invest £200m to become a joint and equal investor in Accolade alongside current private equity owners Candover and Cinven. The deal valued Accolade at £1.89bn. Right after this transaction, Accolade began to prepare for its fourth and largest acquisition. Roca Beta, a bookmaker and internet gaming operator, was to be acquired by Accolade for a total consideration of £2.24bn. This would result in an enterprise value of the enlarged company of £4.24bn, making the resulting group the largest privately-held company in the UK. The deal would be backed by Candover, Cinven and Permira, which would each increase its investment in the enlarged company by £275m to finance the acquisition. The remainder would be financed by bank debt provided by a syndicate of major banks. This case is an updated version of the E-152 with the same title and from the same author.
Bibliographic citation: KOLAROVA, L., JOHNSON R., R. (2021). Accolade Group. IESE, E-225-E.
Date: 01/05/2021
Author(s): Lenka Kolarova; Rob Johnson
Document type: Case
Department: Entrepreneurship
Languages: English
Year of the events: 2005
Geographic area: United Kingdom
Learning objective MBA, courses on Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity