Sovereign Capital Partners, the private equity Buy & Build specialist, has announced that portfolio company Bristow & Sutor, the nationwide judicial services and debt recovery group, has acquired debt collection agency (DCA) Credit Style. Bristow & Sutor was acquired by Sovereign in a management buy-out of the business in June 2017.

Established in 1977 and headquartered in Redditch, the Bristow & Sutor group today fully-employs a team of over 450 staff who support the collection of commercial and local authority debt types. The expanded Group will manage  1.9 million cases per annum.

The acquisition of Credit Style, broadens Bristow & Sutor’s services into wider debt recovery including in-house legal services and pre-legal collection services; this will enable the Group to provide more customers with an end-to-end service. Credit Style’s clients come from a diverse range of sectors including financial services, utilities, motor finance and commercial collections.

Over the last two years, significant investment has been made in delivering service innovation through Bristow & Sutor’s technology driven data centric approach. This approach provides tailored and targeted solutions, delivering sector-leading collection performance while protecting the most vulnerable in society and the reputation of clients.

Bristow & Sutor is one of the UK’s largest enforcement and debt collection agencies and supports local authorities in areas including council tax, business rates and parking fines.

The Bristow & Sutor management team is led by Andy Rose, Chief Executive, who has been in the business for over 30 years. At the time of the MBO, Sovereign augmented the team with the appointments of non-executive Chair Andrew Vaughan, who is highly experienced in working with tech-enabled businesses, Brian Maynard, Finance Director and Paul Lillico, Chief Technology Officer. The senior team is supported by a strong operational team, several of whom have been with the business for over 20 years.

Andy Rose, Chief Executive, Bristow & Sutor said: “We are delighted to welcome Credit Style and its fantastic team to the Group. We share great business synergies and a reputation for providing a quality service delivery grounded in high standards of professionalism and business conduct. We look forward to further developing our service offering with Sovereign’s continued support.”

“Our growth plans are strongly focused on transforming debt collection, through technology, new ways of working and a relentless focus on positive outcomes – for clients and service users.

“In Credit Style, we have found the perfect partner to support our ambitions. We have been extremely impressed with their pride, energy and vision for the business and look forward to working with the team on the next phase of our growth plans.”

Richard Martin from Credit Style added: “It’s great for us to be part of a forward-thinking group, which is committed to delivering the best results for clients, supported through the highest standard of service.

“This is an exciting time for both companies and we’re pleased to be supporting the group’s ambitions for growth and excellence.”

Jeremy Morgan, Partner, Sovereign Capital Partners said “This is a tremendous development for Bristow & Sutor. Credit Style is a highly-regarded business which has invested heavily in technology to enhance its service offering and further diversifies the Group’s service offering. We look forward to continuing to work with Bristow & Sutor’s management team to further grow the business organically and via acquisition.”

A Mazars deal advisory team of Oliver Hoffman, Chris Dale and Harry Radburn, based in Leeds, led the deal, while a corporate law team comprising Susan Clark, Clementine Duckett and Will Reynolds of LCF Law provided legal advice to the shareholders.

Oliver Hoffman, head of M&A at Mazars Deal Advisory, said “This has been an excellent deal to be involved in and we are pleased to have achieved a successful outcome for the shareholders of Credit Style. We wish the management team well in achieving their vision for the combined group.”