Private Equity firms demonstrate strong demand for consulting businesses

Eight mistakes when building a sale-ready business

By Alex White, Managing Director, Head of M&A and Strategic Advisory  Europe, and Ramone Param, Associate Director, Market Intelligence & Buyer Coverage.

Private equity (PE) providers are enthusiastic investors in knowledge intensive business services.  Last year was marked by some headline grabbing exits and new investments by the largest global buyout firms and this had a re-affirming effect on PE’s keen interest in this space.  These included KKR’s acquisition of Optiv Security from Blackstone, as well as the sales of AlixPartners by CVC and the divestment of Carlyle’s remaining stake in Booz Allen Hamilton.

Our own experience of achieving many great outcomes for clients who secured PE investment in 2016, and the line of investors queuing at our door for deal flow, bodes well for owners in 2017.

Sustaining growth in successful businesses – an owners challenge

A challenge for many owners of valuable businesses is the changing attitude to risk that creeps up as success is achieved. It’s natural for sentiment to shift from value creation to value preservation. While natural, it’s also a sure sign that owners’ personal financial portfolios are out of balance and a warning that excess cautiousness will be sub-optimal for their business in the longer term.

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January 2017: Consulting Market Update

Consulting M&A Activity and Equiteq Consulting Share Price Index Performance

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By Ramone Param, Associate Director, Market Intelligence & Buyer Coverage, Equiteq.

The New Year commenced with some notable deal activity and M&A news across all five of the consulting segments that we track. The share prices of many listed consultants that form part of our Equiteq Consulting Share Price Index also rose on the back of strong market sentiment and earnings announcements.

WS Atkins and CH2M $4bn merger talks

The Times reported that British engineering and design consulting firm, WS Atkins Plc (ATKW.L) and US-based CH2M are in merger talks. Atkins had said last year that plans by the new U.S. administration and U.K. government to increase infrastructure spending would benefit the company. Atkins had been using M&A to selectively increase its geographic footprint and capabilities, in a segment that is considered to be consolidating as players look to reduce overheads and increase global market share.

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Equiteq advises P2 Consulting on MBO led by Lonsdale Capital Partners

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Equiteq is pleased to announce that it has advised its client P2 Consulting on a management buyout led by the existing management team and supported by Lonsdale Capital Partners. Equiteq acted as exclusive financial advisor to P2 Consulting. The transaction closed on December 23, 2016.

London headquartered P2 provides senior project management support to international blue chip clients that are undertaking significant change initiatives. P2 has grown significantly year-on-year since being established in 2013 and currently generates revenues of around £10m, principally from clients in the financial services and consumer/retail sectors.

With Lonsdale’s investment and wider support, P2 intends to accelerate its growth by expanding into new sectors and geographies, and capitalizing on attractive acquisition opportunities in a fragmented space. P2 is aiming to continue its impressive growth trajectory and realize its ambition to become the world’s leading brand in project and programme management.

Pip Peel, Founder of P2 Consulting, said “Given their consulting sector M&A experience, Equiteq was the natural choice for us when we started to explore options for the business. Equiteq ran a comprehensive process and, guided by them, we concluded that a private equity backed MBO would give the best outcome to shareholders, management and the company going forward. Equiteq introduced Lonsdale and we immediately recognized their experience and the cultural fit would make them the ideal partner.”

To see the full press release, please click here.

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