Dealmakers advise on multi-million-pound cross border deal

David Forrest

BHP Corporate Finance has acted as lead advisor and Keebles as legal advisor to the shareholders of GB Eye Limited in the multi-million-pound sale of the business to France based acquiror Abysse Corp.

GB Eye is a longstanding and highly regarded Sheffield-based business specialising in the pop-culture, poster and gifting products markets. The business was founded 35 years ago and is well established as one of the market leaders in the supply of fan-focused merchandise both into the UK and across Europe. It employs over 100 staff and has in place a broad range of over 100 licenses.

Abysse Corp is headquartered in France and has a global presence in the fan focused merchandise market. Following the acquisition, the combined group will employ almost 300 staff and expects a consolidated turnover close to €60 million in 2021.

Charlie Chester, managing director and major shareholder, said: “After 35 years in the business it was incredibly important for us to leave GB Eye in good hands. This deal does that as Abysse is the perfect fit and has a like-minded business strategy, with the ability to identify forthcoming trends and create high quality products for any pop-culture fans.

“The growth potential of the combined group is very exciting and we strongly believe that this is great news for all the GB Eye staff as the business continues to go from strength to strength. We are hugely grateful to the teams at BHP Corporate Finance and Keebles for their outstanding advice, guidance and commitment in getting this deal over the line.”

The BHP Corporate Finance team was led by David Forrest, Declan Savage and Mark Cooper. David Forrest, partner, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to help deliver this cross-border deal for the shareholders.

“The commercial logic was very strong, particularly following Brexit, and this is a strategic acquisition for Abysse which very much retains the strong GB Eye brand and its manufacturing and distribution presence in the Sheffield City Region. A very successful outcome for all concerned.”

Paul Trudgill and Russell Bainbridge led the Keebles team on the deal. Paul Trudgill, partner, said: “Having acted for Charlie and the team for almost twenty years it was really satisfying to be able to assist the shareholders in the final step of their journey to secure the successful transition of the business to the new owners.”

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