Gambit Corporate Finance

The Team

J Frank Holmes

J Frank Holmes

Partner

Mobile: +44 (0)776 825 5194
Tel: +44 (0)845 643 5500

Where did your interest in Corporate Finance begin? 

I specialised in corporate finance whilst at Deloitte with experience gained in MBO’s fundraising and corporate restructuring. As a graduate FCA, in 1989, I went into industry as Finance Director of Curran Engineering, a subsidiary of Aerospace Engineering plc, but was retained by Deloitte until 2004 as a Consultant on the international Banco Ambrosiano liquidation.  

In 1992, as MD, I led an MBO of Currans, backed by 3i Group plc and Barclays Bank, which was subsequently sold in 1996. Prior to selling, I embarked on a number of turnarounds as interim MD for several companies in South Wales. Whilst in industry, my preferred area of operation was M&A, and we made several acquisitions and raised finance for a start-up business. This sparked the idea of a dedicated corporate finance practice which became a reality when I joined Gambit. 

 

When did you join Gambit? 

I joined Gambit in 1995 as a founder partner as I recognised that its approach was different from the major accountancy firms. Gambit encourages creativity, partner-led entrepreneurism and it enabled me to initiate and lead several significant merger and acquisition transactions in the UK and internationally. 

Cross-border transactions have featured strongly in my M&A activities with deals concluded in the US, India, Australia, France, Sweden, Italy and nine acquisitions for Biotrace International plc, seven of which were based overseas. 

Over the years, I’ve also gained extensive experience in the healthcare, med-tech, cleantech and specialist engineering sectors, and I led a government funded project with Cardiff University on Succession Planning culminating in the launch of the firm’s new product, “STEP”.

I lead the firm’s Value Maximisation Review team, which focuses on assisting clients to identify key strategic initiatives necessary to enhance value and prepare for fundraising, acquisition or exit. 

 

What are you known for? 

Probably first and foremost as a dealmaker. I had the privilege of leading notable transactions with economic impact, including Wales’ largest management buy-out of Newport Water Fab for £110 million and a greenfield start-up fundraising of over £120 million for a new generation holiday village, Bluestone.

In 2007, I was voted Wales Dealmaker of the Year and again in 2013 and 2017, the first person to achieve the accolade three times. I was also awarded ICAEW Best Chartered Accountant in Practice in 2008 but I think that people will also recognise how the practice has flourished too. I’m proud to say that it has been recognised as Most Active Corporate Finance Practice in Wales over 10 years between 2007 – 2016. 

In 2016, 2017 and 2018 Gambit won Corporate Finance Firm of the Year for its role in a number of iconic deals including the sale of Wheelies/Tredz to Halfords and ACT to Cardiff and Vale College respectively, both of which I led.  

 

What might people not know about you? 

I’m a Governor of Cardiff Metropolitan University and The Cathedral School (Cardiff) and I chair the board of Trustees of Bobath Children’s Cerebral Palsy Therapy Centre, which I have supported for 15 years. 

In November 2017, I was appointed Chairman of the Regional Economic Growth Partnership Board. It has been established to oversee the £1.2 billion Cardiff City Region Deal's investment programme and economic strategy, whilst promoting inward investment and visitors to Cardiff City Region comprising 10 local authorities.

I’m also an avid collector of Welsh contemporary art and a frequent media commentator on the economy and business trends.