Disposal for Souter private equity vehicle

Stagecoach co-founder and chairman Brian Souter. Picture: Jane BarlowStagecoach co-founder and chairman Brian Souter. Picture: Jane Barlow
Stagecoach co-founder and chairman Brian Souter. Picture: Jane Barlow
The family investment office of Stagecoach Group co-founder and chairman Sir Brian Souter has completed the sale of a firm of professional searchers that works with the likes of Registers of Scotland, Ordnance Survey, and Scottish Water.

Souter Investments has offloaded First Scottish Group, which provides searches and reports for solicitors, conveyancers, estate agents, financial firms and local authorities.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, with the buyer a “significant international private investment group with multinational interests across a variety of sectors, and specialism in health care, technology, insurance and financial services”.

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The First Scottish management team, led by group MD Ian Fraser, will remain with the company and it will keep trading under its existing brand.

Fraser commented: “Having enjoyed a long period under Souter Investments’ ownership, during which First Scottish has gone from strength to strength, we are enthusiastic about our new relationship with our new owners.”

John Berthinussen, investment director at Souter Investments, who steps down as chairman of First Scottish, added that the latter “is well positioned as it enters the next stage of its development under new long-term ownership”.

The sale comes after Souter Investments has injected equity into managed print and document management services firm DMC Canotec; rural broadband specialist Broadway Partners, and transport-focused CoachHire.com.

Souter Investments has also recently completed the sales of its holdings in Baywater Healthcare UK and Endura, while portfolio company Ashtead Technology announced a joint venture with Forum Subsea Rentals, a subsidiary of Forum Energy Technologies, creating the industry’s leading provider of subsea survey and remote operated vehicle (ROV) equipment rental and associated services.

Souter Investments and exiting shareholders were advised by KPMG and Addleshaw Goddard, supported by CMS, Lindsays and Thomson Cooper.