Following recommendation by a previous client, Smith Cooper initiated and project-managed a deal for North-East based Wiltshire Farm Foods (Newcastle) Limited, a franchisee of the UK’s leading frozen meal home delivery business Wiltshire Farm Foods (WFF) which has been sold to ex-banker, Robbie Jones.

The sellers, John and Helen Moran, successfully grew the WFF business over a 10 year period and the sale has enabled them to focus on their other business interests in the care and sauce-distribution sectors.

John Moran commented: “I believe Robbie will make an excellent franchisee who will professionally, energetically and very effectively drive forward WFF Newcastle, and indeed the Wiltshire Farm Foods brand as a whole.”

Prior to the acquisition, Robbie was a Corporate Director for HSBC Bank Plc, managing clients across the North-East with a portfolio covering a broad cross-section of industries, including several franchise businesses.  Before joining HSBC, Robbie had a strong track record in business management, having successfully run several businesses in the UK and overseas.

A team from Smith Cooper’s corporate finance division, comprising John Farnsworth, David Crump and Nicola Whiting, was appointed to provide full sale process management services to the sellers. This included identifying the buyer, negotiation and process management through the diligence and legal processes culminating in completion.

David Crump, Corporate Finance Senior Manager at Smith Cooper, said: “We are delighted to have secured an exit for John and Helen and wish them every success in their other business ventures.  We believe that Robbie’s business experience puts him in an excellent position to prosper within, and add a lot of value to, the WFF franchise network.”

John Moran added: “It has been a pleasure working with Smith Cooper.  Appointing them to run the process was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I would not hesitate to recommend their services.”

Legal advice was provided by Simon Davers of the Derby office of law firm Geldards LLP.  Commenting on the deal, Simon said “the combined efforts and a strong professional rapport with Smith Cooper enabled the swift and successful completion of the sale, ensuring the best outcome for the Morans”.

Smith Cooper Corporate Finance is a UK market leader in advising on food and drink sector deals, ranging from wholesaling of commodities to food manufacturing and retail.  The sale of Wiltshire Farm Foods (Newcastle) Limited is the fifth frozen meal delivery transaction on which the firm have advised.

Wiltshire Farm Foods is the UK’s leading frozen home meals delivery service. It is part of apetito UK, which manufactures and supplies nutritionally balanced meals to Care Homes, Local Authorities and Hospitals and, through WFF, to individual households. Spokesman for apetito Limited, Lee Sheppard, Director of Operations and Performance, said “we are delighted to welcome Robbie to our team and wish John and Helen every success in their other business interests.”

“It has been a pleasure working with Smith Cooper. Appointing them to run the process was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I would not hesitate to recommend their services.”

John Moran –

Jun 17

Smith Cooper Team
John Farnsworth
David Crump


Experts that advised on this deal

David Crump

Corporate Finance Director