First Choice Naturally Ltd Has Been Acquired By Joe & Tom Kershaw

Brothers Joe and Tom Kershaw were advised by LCF Law on their acquisition of First Choice Naturally Ltd, one of Bradford’s foremost fruit and vegetable wholesalers.

The Kershaws bought a majority share in First Choice Naturally from owners Trevor and Wanda Hinchcliffe, whose son Richard remains as a director and shareholder. The 15-person business will continue to operate from St. James’s Wholesale Market on Wakefield Road in Bradford, though the Kershaws plan to expand its reach across Yorkshire.

The deal marks a continuation of the Kershaw brothers’ business relationship with LCF Law. The firm has acted on the Kershaw family’s behalf in the past, advising on the acquisition of Burbank Produce Ltd in 1995 and its subsequent sale in 2001.

The LCF team advising on this deal included partner Cathy Cook and solicitor Will Reynolds.

Lawyer Monthly had the pleasure to speak with Cathy Cook, Partner at LCF Law to give us some further insight into this transaction:

Can you tell us more about your team’s involvement with the negotiations?

The buyers and sellers have known each other for about 40 years and Trevor Hinchcliffe actually worked for the Kershaws’ grandfather at the beginning of his working life. This meant that most matters were negotiated directly and so it was simply a case of documenting their agreement.

What expertise did your team bring to the deal?

We have worked with the Kershaw family for a number of years and so understand their main priorities. The deal included a completion net asset adjustment to the purchase price, so we needed to work closely with our client’s accountants to ensure that the appropriate accounting policies were included.

Did you encounter any challenges during the acquisition? If so, how did you overcome them?

Richard Hinchliffe has retained an interest in the company and is still a director, so it was important to ensure that a robust shareholders’ agreement was put in place to regulate the relationship between the buyers and the minority shareholder going forward.

How does this deal fit the profile of your law firm?

The majority of our corporate transactions are on behalf of owner managers or private limited companies, so this deal completely fits that profile.

Do you expect that your firm’s working relationship with the Kershaw brothers will continue?

I would certainly hope so. It is very rewarding to support generations of the same family.

What other notable deals have you recently worked on?

We work on a wide range of deals, many of which are reported in the media. We recently advised the director-shareholders of Consolidated Timber Holdings Group during an acquisition by Rubicon Partners. We are in the process of finalising a sale to an employee ownership trust and we are also just about to complete the sale of a care home and training centre to a management team who have worked with the vendor for years. The vendor is delighted that the business succession has been secured.

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