Higgs acts in riding school acquisition

13 December 2021

Higgs LLP has played a key role in an acquisition of a popular riding school revitalised for the local community – which has also allowed a security specialist go back to its Black County roots.

Higgs acted for the Male Family Group in the purchase of the 60-acre Warrens Hall Riding School in Oldbury.

The Male Family Group is co-owned by Neil and Emma Male, who have a combined 50 years of experience with horses.

And the couple have wasted no time in upgrading the riding school facilities with a view to opening the doors for local good causes.

The Males also transformed the derelict front stables into state-of-the-art offices and a board room for the Group’s other business, national security specialists and long-time Higgs client, GMS Group.

Damian Beard, Principal Associate in the Higgs corporate law team, led the acquisition.

Damian said: “It was an honour to be asked to act for the family business in relation to the acquisition of the riding school, which clearly means so much to Emma, Neil and the children.

“There are two major benefits to this deal – the riding school is now financially secure and available for the community, and GMS has returned home to the Black Country.

“It was a departure from the work that we have historically carried out for Neil and the GMS Group but made a refreshing change.

“As a firm we are used to dealing with a wide variety of businesses as part of advising many owner managed businesses across the Midlands and further afield.”

GMS act as a tenant for the stables, relocating from their previous headquarters in Bromsgrove, and provide financial sustainability for the school. Many GMS staff also happily assist with the daily operation of the school.

GMS is home to a family of innovative security specialist companies employing more than 500 staff nationwide. GMS deliver practical solutions for leading brands to protect their premises, assets and personnel.

The move to Oldbury symbolises a “return home” for CEO Neil, who was raised in Dudley and started his career in professional football before later embarking upon his business life.

Neil wanted to move GMS back to his family roots and for the site to be used for as many local charities and good causes as possible to give back from the success the company has achieved.

Warrens Hall Riding School has served the Black Country’s budding equestrians for 30 years.

Under the Males, the school has been completely renovated to a professional standard rarely seen within the community, to offer an unrivalled equestrian experience. The school has been fitted with an elite training manège, a modern community hub and reception for waiting riders, and refurbished stables accommodating both the riding school and livery horses.

The first phase of the project was to completely renovate the stables, which included removing the infamous 2,000-ton ‘muck heap’ from the premises, for which Warrens Hall had become renowned.

The riding school is now entering new territory with equine therapy. Working alongside Kaleidoscope Plus Group, the school will offer dedicated equine therapy and mental health counselling sessions for the local community.

Neil Male said: “Everyone at GMS is motivated to make a positive difference to the region so our new Oldbury HQ will not be used just for business. With a strong interest in equestrian sports and the benefits horse riding can bring to many communities, we plan to work with local charities to open the doors for them to make use of our new home in their work.

“As a dedicated client of Higgs, it was an easy decision for us to have them lead the acquisition. Their support has been paramount in bringing our vision for the riding school to life, and we feel assured that we have a partner that believes in helping our local community in the Black Country.”

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