£13.75M BGF investment for event technology firm Blue-i Group

A Leeds-headquartered audio visual and event technology company, which has undertaken projects for the United Nations, UK Government and West End productions, has secured a £13.75m investment from BGF.

Blue-i Group, founded in 2002 by Lee Bradshaw and Stevie Warne, provides AV, set and stage asset hire, as well as technical and project management services, for the live events and theatre industries.

The company has partnered with production company clients across pharma, automotive, technology, government, theatre and creative arts sectors, and has completed projects for the United Nations, UK Government, Honda and Ebay, as well as West End productions including Frozen, Wicked, Starlight Express and Tina Turner the Musical.

BGF’s investment will fuel Blue-i’s recruitment plans to expand its technical teams and accelerate a capital investment programme to support European sales growth.

Lee Bradshaw, co-founder and managing director of Blue-i Group, said: “We’ve built a successful, and profitable business because we understand the value of providing high-quality technical equipment and asset hire, as well as the knowledge and experience of technicians and engineers to support our clients.

“Our service-led proposition sets Blue-i Group apart in a competitive marketplace and that has positioned us well for growth. We’ve identified promising markets in the UK and overseas, and we are confident of the opportunity that exists to capitalise on the continued demand for live events and theatre which has bounced back strongly post pandemic.

“Throughout the process, BGF developed a deep understanding of our business and its potential and Stevie and I look forward to working with Stuart Warriner and the wider BGF team on the next stage of the Group’s growth journey.”

The deal was led by Chris Boyes and James Baker, investors in BGF’s Yorkshire team.

As part of the investment, Stuart Warriner, former lead M&A partner at PWC in Yorkshire, will join as non-executive chair. Warriner was appointed through BGF’s Talent Network – one of the largest groups of board-level non-executives in the UK and Ireland.

Boyes added: “Blue-i Group has established itself as an industry-leader, building an impeccable reputation for the quality of service it delivers to its clients across the live events and theatre sectors.

“The team are creative and technical in equal measure and their talent and drive is evident in the business’ performance to date. Lee and Stevie have outlined an impressive growth strategy and we look forward to working in partnership to achieve our combined ambitions.”

The legal adviser to BGF was Schofield Sweeney (Steven Millward and Jess Fielden) with tax advice from The Tax Advisory Partnership (Russ Cahill and Toyan Williams). Corporate Finance advice to Blue-i Group was provided by TLP (Paul Land) and legal advice by Freeths (Dahren Naidoo).

Paul Land, managing partner of TLP, said: “It has been a pleasure working with such a high calibre team at Blue-i, whose domain knowledge, skills, and determination on a national and international basis throughout challenging trading conditions, have shown that great businesses and talented management teams can still attract significant investment.

“Blue-i Group is a leading example of a business, achieving controlled growth on a global scale with enormous potential and the BGF partnership has underpinned the founder’s ambitions to further scale the business and moreover has created a great case study for both entrepreneurship and growth in the North.”

Originally published by Insider Media on 5th January 2023. SOURCE