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Oyez group changes hands

The Oyez Straker legal forms-to-stationery supplies and digital dictation systems group has been bought by venture capitalists Hermes Private Equity for £80 million. It has acquired the business from the rival private-equity outfit Bridgepoint Capital. Hermes is backing a management team led by Jeff Whiteway, who becomes chief executive and succeeds Hugh Sear, who moves up to chairman. Whiteway has been with Oyez Straker for more than 10 years. Oyez Straker was formed in 1997 when Bridgepoint decided to merge two of its separate investments, Straker Office Supplies and the Solicitors Law Stationery Society. It hired investment bankers to look at options for the business in 2000, including a flotation, but later decided to hang on to its investment, beefing it up with the acquisition of Stat Plus in 2001. Whiteway was authorised earlier this year to explore the possibility of putting together a management buyout and he appointed Price Waterhouse Coopers to advise him and the team. Hermes is likely to continue the existing strategy of growing both organically and through further acquisitions.