10 deals of HMT – the MBO and disposal of Donatantonio

    To celebrate its 25th anniversary of leading corporate finance deals, HMT is reminiscing on 10 notable transactions from its archives. Having completed over 500 deals, producing a shortlist of 10 has not been easy but the MBO of Donatantonio and subsequent sale of the business have certainly made the list.


    Founded in 1902 in London by Luigi Donatantonio, who was missing the culinary delights of his native Italy, Donatantonio is since then one of the leading food importers in the UK.

    Run by the Donatantonio family, in particular the brothers Lou and Vince, Sheila took an active role as the business expanded in line with the British Food industry and the Company floated on the Main Stock Market in 1997.

    Seven years after the flotation, Donatantonio was growing rapidly but the pressure of the stock market was hammering smaller companies. Therefore, Sheila Donatantonio decided to start a management buyout process to take the company from public to private. HMT had been recommended to her by a member of her team and she appointed HMT to act for them on the MBO. HMT helped her with the entire public to private MBO process and in January 2004 the transaction completed. Sheila Donatantonio became the managing director and a new team of directors was appointed.

    Following the MBO, Donatantonio made a strategic acquisition of a food distributor and HMT provided buy-side advisory services on that transaction.

    Sheila Donatantonio decided in 2007 that it was time to dispose of the business. After two successful transactions, she naturally appointed HMT to lead the disposal process. HMT produced a robust information memorandum and identified potential buyers and funders. Just before Christmas 2007, Sheila Donatantonio and the management team sold Donatantonio to a BIMBO team led by Steve Asplen and funded by Beringea.

    She retired from the corporate world after the disposal and is now involved in property projects. She is very pleased with the outcome of those transactions for both the Donatantonio family and the business. Beringea still owns a major shareholding in Donatantonio and the business is continuously growing.

    Sheila Donatantonio
    Sheila Donatantonio

    “HMT is dedicated, hard working and visionary”