Delivering a premium sale for GL Hearn

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GL Hearn (GLH), a market-leading UK property consultancy, approached Equiteq as part of its annual strategy development process to provide an assessment of the M&A market.

Through Equiteq’s Valuation and Market Risk Assessment (VMRA) methodology, the board of GLH gained a good insight into the strategic sale potential of the business, prompting a decision to sell. Based on our deep consulting transaction experience, we were appointed as the lead advisor for the sale. Eventually, GLH was sold to Capita for £30m in 2015, a valuation which substantially exceeded shareholder expectations.

The client’s situation

GLH approached Equiteq as part of its annual strategy review to provide an assessment of the M&A market and, in particular, the outlook for GLH in a strategic sale scenario. We utilized our proprietary VMRA tool to provide a thorough analysis, which the board of GLH incorporated into its decision-making process to sell the business.

Our approach

Following the initial workshop, we set to work preparing high-quality sales documentation and undertaking research into potential strategic advisors, drawing on our knowledge of the buyer universe and key value drivers for these buyers.

We identified and shortlisted the most likely buyers, and approached the shortlisted companies as a priority. This enabled the process to remain focused and efficient whilst maintaining confidentiality. The ultimate result was a number of credible offers for the business which Equiteq negotiated and improved before the shareholders selected their preferred party.

During the due diligence phase, the focus was on quick execution and maintaining value, both of which we were able to achieve though strong project management and supply of quality information to the buyer.

How did Equiteq deliver value to the client?

It was clear that GLH had been well positioned for growth in certain areas of the property consultancy market, with management having made a number of strategic investments during previous years in this regard.

  • We presented these investments carefully; alongside the opportunity they created for a potential buyer, adjusted the historic performance of the business to show the strong underlying growth trend.
  • This led to a significant interest in GLH from the buyer community, soliciting a number of well-structured and valuable offers from credible international buyers.

This allowed GLH to make an informed and positive choice about which partner to consummate a transaction with.

Ultimately Equiteq achieved a premium valuation in excess of the GLH shareholders’ expectations and a final sale value of £30m.

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