Caledonia buys Cooke Optics – Caledonia Investments has acquired a majority stake in Cooke Optics Group, the UK manufacturer of premium-end cinematography lenses for the film, television and advertising industries, in a transaction which values the business at GBP96.5m.
Founded as a lens manufacturer in 1886, Cooke has been at the centre of the film making business for over a century. Headquartered in Leicester, it is led by Les Zellan (chairman), Robert Howard (chief executive officer) and Alan Merrills (chief operating officer) and has some 130 full time employees.
Caledonia has subscribed GBP62.5m of equity and GBP30.0m of debt to acquire approximately 89% of Cooke from its current owners, Growth Capital Partners and Cooke’s management team. The management team have reinvested GBP7.8m of their sales proceeds for the remaining equity.
In its most recent audited consolidated accounts, being for its financial year to 30 June 2017, Cooke reported EBITDA of GBP7.7m and profit before tax of GBP2.8m, and at that date had gross assets of GBP33.8m.
Commenting on the acquisition, Duncan Johnson, Caledonia’s head of unquoted investments, said: “We are delighted to have become owners of such an iconic business and brand as Cooke Optics. Its profitability and high cash generation, combined with its strong competitive position in the film making industry globally, makes it ideally suited to Caledonia’s unquoted portfolio. We look forward to working with Les Zellan and his team to take advantage of growth opportunities deriving from Cooke’s innovation in full-frame camera lens technology, increased demand from China and the expansion of the digital streaming market globally.”
Les Zellan, Cooke’s chairman, commented: “We are delighted to be partnering with Caledonia in the next phase of Cooke’s development. Caledonia’s reputation as a long term, supportive investor gives us confidence that we can continue building the Cooke legacy derived from over 130 years of supporting the film industry.”
CLDN : Caledonia buys Cooke Optics