27 August 1959|
Mansfield College, Oxford|
The Judd School
|Occupation||Private equity investor|
Terra Firma (2002- )|
Nomura Securities (1994-2002)
Goldman Sachs (1982-1994)
|Known for||Founder of Terra Firma Capital Partners, Founder of Nomura Principal Finance Group|
Guy Hands (born 27 August 1959) is an English financier and investor. He is most notable as the founder and chairman of Terra Firma Capital Partners, one of the largest private equity firms in Europe. Hands also previously served as Chairman of the UK music company, EMI.
Guy Hands was born in London to South African parents, by way of Southern Rhodesia. He was educated at Holy Trinity School, Cookham, where he was diagnosed as severely dyslexic. Subsequently, he was sent to Ravenscroft Preparatory School, a special needs school, aged 9 and The Judd School, Tonbridge. More recently, Hands contributed the funds for the construction of the Guy Hands Library at the Judd School. In a Ravenscroft production of Macbeth in 1970, he played the part of Lady Macbeth opposite Christopher Newbury as Macbeth.
Hands studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Mansfield College, Oxford. At Oxford, Hands held the office of Bursar of the Oxford Union and was also President of the Oxford University Conservative Association in Michaelmas Term 1980. Hands later provided funding for construction of the Hands Building at Mansfield College.
Hands started his career in 1982 as a eurobond trader at Goldman Sachs. He was appointed Head of Eurobond trading in 1986 and later rose to become head of global asset structuring world-wide for Goldman's European division in 1990. In 1994, Hands left Goldman to found Nomura's Principal Finance Group, which focused on European private equity investments. Hands joined Nomura after three other banks, including Goldman, turned down his investment plan. At Nomura, Hands and his team completed over $20 billion of leveraged buyouts. By 2000, Hands was reported to have generated profits for the bank in excess of $1.9 billion making him a star financier in London. Hands' most notable acquisitions at Nomura included Annington Homes, as well as William Hill, the bookmaker, and Angel Trains, the UK rolling stock operating company. As well, Hands effectively became the UK's biggest pub landlord through a series of acquisitions in the 1990s.
In 2002, Hands founded Terra Firma Capital Partners, as a spinout from Nomura, which he had built into one of the largest private equity investors in Europe. Terra Firma debuted with a €2 billion private equity fund, immediately making it one of the larger private equity investors in Europe.
The firm's early investments, while still a division of Nomura, focused on housing (Annington Homes), leasing companies and pubs. Since 2002, the firm has made major investments in the waste management (Waste Recycling Group), energy (BGCL, East Surrey Holdings, Phoenix Natural Gas, aircraft leasing (AWAS), cinema (Odeon Cinemas/UCI) and music sectors (EMI). TFCP has also made significant investments in German residential housing (Deutsche Annington) and motorway services (Tank & Rast).
Terra Firma is now also one of the world’s leading private equity investors in renewable energy. Its investments include the UK-based green energy business (Infinis), a US wind energy business (EverPower) and an Italian solar energy business (RTR).
Hands and Terra Firma are also known for the failed investment in British music company EMI, which was later taken over by Citigroup, the main lender in the investment. Citigroup took ownership of EMI Group from Terra Firma on 1 February 2011, wiping out the firm's investments and writing off £2.2 billion of debt. Despite implementing an operational turnaround, Terra Firma was reported to have lost $2.5 billion in the EMI transaction, representing roughly one-third of Terra Firma's investor's capital as well as more than 60% of Hands' personal net worth. Hands had spent much of 2010 engaged in litigation with Citigroup, claiming the bank engaged in fraud during its auction of EMI in 2007. The lawsuit went to trial in New York in late 2010 and resulted in a jury finding in favor of Citigroup. This verdict was however overturned in May 2013, after a US federal appeals court found that the American trial judge, Jed Rakoff, had incorrectly instructed the jury on a point of English law.
A new, judge-led trial was heard by Mr Justice Burton in London in June 2016. After two days of evidence, during which Mr Hands admitted on more than one occasion that he didn't have 'that memory anymore', lawyers for Terra Firma withdrew the case with all costs to be borne by Terra Firma. Burton said: “I’m sure this is the right result.” Citi said: "We have always maintained that the allegations made by Terra Firma were entirely baseless." Hands said the claims had been brought in good faith, but that documentation and memories of these events after nine years was no longer sufficient to meet the high demands of proof required, and that the matter is now closed.
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday in March 2017, Guy Hands suggested that Terra Firma had recovered from the EMI investment, stating: "Of over 200 investors, barely a handful even mention it now. For them and Terra Firma it's over. We've all moved on."
Hands started an art business before going to University. Once at Oxford it became known as ‘Artsake’ and employed a large number of Hands’ fellow students. While at university, he became friends with William Hague, who was later best man at his wedding, in 1984, to Julia Caroline Ablethorpe. The couple have two sons and two daughters. His wife's house in Kent, just outside Sevenoaks, was once presented to Winston Churchill, while his family's estate in Tuscany, Villa Saletta, produces wine and olive oil. The estate’s wines have won several awards.
Hands and his wife own the Hand Picked Hotels chain of 20 country-house properties, which is run by Julia Hands.
Hands is a dedicated wine collector, and is a customer of Octavian Vaults for storage.
In April 2009, in protest at the UK tax system, Hands moved to the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Since then, he has not been to the UK and his family travel to Guernsey to see him. The writer Malcolm Gladwell called the move to Guernsey an “incredibly interesting pathology”, seeing exile from the UK as a significant reverse in the benefits of being immensely wealthy.
In 2017, Guy and Julia Hands agreed to a deal to acquire McDonald’s Nordic operations. The Nordic countries consist of approximately 435 restaurants, 95% of which are franchised. The deal will see Hands become the developmental licensee and master franchiser for McDonald’s in the region.
The Hands family support a number of charities including the Prince's Trust, King's College, Cambridge, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Kids Company, The Eve Appeal, Hospice in the Weald, ICAN, and Outward Bound.
They have also been significant supporters of Mansfield College, Oxford. In recognition of their significant contributions, Mansfield hosts an annual Hands Lecture series, whose speakers have included Lord Mandelson, David Boies and Bob Geldof. Since 2014, the Hands family has donated £2.2 million towards Mansfield’s Love Lane building, which will house the University’s new Institute of Human Rights.
Hands first donated money to Mansfield College in 1995, and has since been active in its development. One of the areas of change Hands has been vocal on was the decision to focus on providing educational access to ‘non-typical students’. The College now claims a UK state school intake of 91.4% compared with just under 60% for the rest of the University - a statistic which Hands stated ‘puts Mansfield in a different league’.
Through Terra Firma London, Hands donates 10% of pre-tax profits to the Terra Firma Charitable Trust and Impetus - The Private Equity Foundation, with these donations going to local communities in Southwark in South London where the company has offices.
Honours and appointments
- 2000 - elected a Global Leader of Tomorrow of the World Economic Forum
- President of Access for Excellence
- Bancroft Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford
- Member of the University of Oxford Chancellor’s Court of Benefactors
- Fellow of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme
- Wray, Richard (18 January 2008). "'Profile: Guy Hands'". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
- Guy Hands: 'the days of speculation and quick returns must end' Daily Telegraph online. 13 November 2011
- Private equity is being forced to face new reality. City A.M. 9 December 2011
- Kennedy, Siobhan, Business big shot: Guy Hands dated 30 July 2007, online at timesonline.co.uk
- Guy Hands Profile. Terra Firma Capital Partners website
- "Building For The Future" (PDF). Mansfield College Oxford. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 October 2015.
- Hands edges toward Nomura exit door. 7 May 2001
- Guy Hands. Financial News, 14 June 2000
- The Man Who Loves Disasters. Business Week, 5 June 2000
- Nomura's guy hands: Dealmaker extraordinaire. Global Finance, November 2001
- UK Terra Firma to seal debut deal. AltAssets, 9 Jun 2003
- Hands seen dropping plans for major bank role in new fund. AltAssets, 30 July 2001
- COWELL, ALAN. "World Business Briefing | Europe: Britain: Nomura Investor To Open Fund." New York Times, 10 November 2001
- Guy Hands’ Terra Firma holds first close on debut independent fund. AltAssets, 1 November 2002
- Bloomberg New Energy Finance Report. Bloomberg, 2011
- Bloomberg New Energy Finance Names Top Clean Energy Investors. Bloomberg.com, 2010
- Joshua R. Wueller, Mergers of Majors: Applying the Failing Firm Doctrine in the Recorded Music Industry, 7 Brook. J. Corp. Fin. & Com. L. 589, 597–604 (2013) (describing Terra Firma's purchase of EMI, Citigroup's seizure of the company, and the subsequent breakup, sale, and antitrust scrutiny surrounding the music company).
- Citigroup wrestles EMI from Guy Hands' grasp, The Guardian 1 February 2011
- "EMI announces successful capital restructuring, and change of ownership". EMI Music. 1 February 2011. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
- Give Guy credit for EMI's Brits success Archived 25 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. London Evening Standard. 18 February 2011
- EMI Annual review 2009/2010 Archived 16 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. EMI Music 2009/2010
- Guy Hands on life after EMI. Business Monitor, 10 March 2011
- Guy Hands Offers EMI Post-Mortem. New York Times, 22 February 2011
- Suit Accuses Citigroup of Fraud in EMI Deal. New York Times, 12 December 2009
- Financier And Banker To Face Off On EMI Sale. New York Times, 14 October 2010
- Membership, FT. "Fast FT". www.ft.com. Retrieved 2016-05-23.
- "Guy Hands drops Citigroup EMI lawsuit". BBC Business News. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- "Guy Hands abandons £1.5bn fraud claim against Citigroup". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- "He nearly went under after EMI... now Guy Hands is back". This is Money. Retrieved 2017-07-26.
- Wine Details: Borgo Saletta - IGT Rosso Toscana 2006 Archived 4 September 2012 at Archive.is. International Wine and Spirit Competition 2006
- Saletta wine description Archived 20 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. Villa Saletta website
- Finch, Julia (7 February 2010). "I save tax by never visiting my family, says tycoon Guy Hands". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
- Foley, Stephen (19 September 2014) Running with the FT: Malcolm Gladwell FT.com
- "Guy Hands tucks into Nordic McDonald's franchise". Evening Standard. 2017-01-27. Retrieved 2017-07-21.
- Clark, Simon. "Private-equity pioneer Guy Hands buys Nordic McDonald's restaurants". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2017-07-21.
- DofE Supporters. The Duke of Edinburgh's Award
- "Trustees' Report and Financial Statements" (PDF).
- "City Diary: Guy Hands showed a degree of enterprise in his Oxford years". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
- "Guy Hands is back: I nearly went under after EMI – now I'm ready to go on a spending spree again... carefully". This is Money. Retrieved 2017-03-19.
- "Mansfield College, Oxford: Love Lane Campaign: Building for the future". www.mansfield.ox.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 12 April 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
- "Bonavero Institute of Human Rights". Oxford Law Faculty.
- "Guy Hands: Other people fear change. I make it my business". www.oxfordtoday.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
- "Terra Firma London - Supporting the local community". www.terrafirma.com. Retrieved 2017-07-26.
- "Our supporters | Impetus − The Private Equity Foundation". www.impetus-pef.org.uk. Retrieved 2017-07-26.
- Coates, Ashley (2017-01-15). "Guy Hands's private equity firm resumes dividend". Retrieved 2017-07-26.
- Profile: Guy Hands. The Guardian, 17 January 2008