Sovereign Capital Partners backs AquaQ Analytics

Sovereign Capital Partners have backed AquaQ Analytics, a specialist data analytics and data science services business supporting global financial institutions. Sovereign has partnered with the management team to further grow the company’s international presence and develop its range of services. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2011, AquaQ works with its clients to optimise, develop and maintain their database technologies and take advantage of advanced data and analytics. The company, has long-term relationships with a number of leading financial institutions. It also has its own proprietary suite of software tools, TorQ.

AquaQ ‘s headquarters are in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The company has offices in the USA, Singapore and Hong Kong and employs over 180 staff.

Sovereign is backing founders Ronan Pairceir and James Bradley. Guy Warren joins the business as non-executive Chair. Guy is CEO of technology business ITRS, a former NED of White Clarke Group, ex-COO of FTSE Group and EVP of Misys Banking.

Uk, London & Belfast

dmg media acquires New Scientist for £70M

dmg media has acquired New Scientist, one of the world’s leading science publishing titles, from a consortium of individual investors led by Sir Bernard Gray, for £70m cash consideration. 

New Scientist, first published on 22 November 1956, is a magazine that covers all aspects of science and technology. Based in London with offices in the USA and Australia, it has a weekly circulation of approximately 120,000, of which just over half are UK-based. In 2021 the business is expected to generate cash operating income and operating profit of approximately £7 million and revenues are expected to exceed £20 million. Around 75% of the revenue base is derived from subscriptions. The business also runs international events including New Scientist Live.

Lord Rothermere, Chairman of DMGT, said: “New Scientist is a world-renowned publication loved by its readers, and we are both thrilled and proud to welcome it to the DMGT family.  They are a specialised and talented team who showcase the best of science journalism, bringing integrity, curiosity and craftmanship to their work.  We are very much looking forward to supporting their exciting plans to grow as the go-to publication for anyone interested in the scientific world around us.”  

Paul Zwillenberg, DMGT CEO, added: “The acquisition of New Scientist marks an exciting new addition to the DMGT portfolio and reflects our disciplined approach to acquisitions.  It is a natural step in our consumer strategy to improve the quality of our revenues through building up subscriptions and digital capabilities. We are committed to supporting the talented team and their plans for the future and are confident that the business is well positioned for future growth.” 

UK, London

Bowmark Capital backs buy-out of IWSR

Bowmark Capital, the mid-market private equity firm, has backed the buy-out of IWSR, a source of data and intelligence for the $1.5 trillion alcoholic beverage market, from FPE Capital. The terms of the transaction are not disclosed and the buy-out includes a re-investment by the IWSR management team..

IWSR’s database tracks consumption trends across 30,000 brands and 157 countries.  The company has over 200 blue chip customers representing all the major market participants including producers, ingredient manufacturers, investment banks and consultancies. The company’s data and insights help its customers understand channel, distribution and sales trends in all their core markets.

In the just under three years of FPE’s ownership IWSR increased revenues by 110% and increased EBITDA by 160%. It is the first exit for FPE from its second, spin-out fund which closed in 2017. The company also recently completed the acquisition of Wine Intelligence, broadening its coverage of the wine sector.

Bowmark investment director Tom Elliott said: “We have tracked IWSR for several years and have been impressed by the evolution of the business under the leadership of Mark and his team.  The business continues to capitalise on its unique position in a complex marketplace and has an exciting pipeline of new products to deliver additional value to its customers.  We are delighted to be backing the company in its next stage of growth.”

Mark Meek, CEO of IWSR, commented: “I am delighted with the progress the business has made in the last few years.  We are an ambitious team and are keen to work with Bowmark to continue to grow IWSR and expand the product portfolio and customer value proposition.  As we got to know Bowmark, it became clear that they really understand our sector and can help us accelerate our growth.”

UK, London

BidEnergy acquires Optima Energy Systems

BidEnergy, an Australian company which provides Utility Bid Expense Management Solutions in Australia, the UK and the USA, has acquired energy management software business Optima Energy Systems, a Skipton, UK-based energy management software business providing: bill validation, budgets and accruals, and tenant and self-billing.

Terms of the transaction

Bid is paying £5.4 million for Optima, plus a conditional Deferred Payment as follows:

  • £3.2 million, payable in cash upfront
  • 3.384 million Bid shares are to be issued to Optima vendors at an issue price of A$1.16 per share (~A$3.9m)
  • Shares will be subject to escrow as follows
    • 25% – 9 months from completion
    • 50% – 12 months from completion
    • 25% – 15 months from completion
  • A Deferred Payment, payable in cash, subject to Optima achieving certain performance milestones regarding revenue and costs within the year following the Completion Date
  • The “Deferred Payment” has two components:
    • A £250,000 payment on achievement of certain recurring cost reductions prior to 31 March 2021; and
    • A payment based on recurring run rate revenues achieved in the Optima business in the 12 months following completion (Bid has provisioned for a payment of F750,000, but the payment could be higher or lower).
  • Steve Wright, Optima’s Managing Director will remain engaged by Optima for at least 12 months, with the potential for a consultancy arrangement thereafter.

The transaction terms value Optima at a multiple of 2.9 times FY20 revenue.

The Optima acquisition adds a further A$3.4m1 to Bid’s annualised subscription revenue, taking overall expected group earnings to A$17.9m as at Nov. 2020

Optima was established in 1998 and has 127 full time employees. In the year to 31 March 2020 Optima had unaudited revenue of £2.18 million and was EBITDA positive (figure not disclosed). The company directly manages energy data for 51 clients, who in turn are responsible for 196,400+ meters under management across the UK. Clients are multi-site MNCs, TPI/Brokers, property management agents, etc

Bid already had a long term relationship with Optima, having provided data collection services to support a limited part of their core business.

Full transaction details here

Australia, Melbourne and UK, Yorkshire

eEnergy Group plc to acquire Beond Group

eEnergy Group plc is to acquire Beond Group Limited, a UK renewable energy consulting and procurement business.

Beond, based in West London, helps its clients to transition to the lowest cost zero carbon energy available in the market. Working with small businesses to large corporates and public sector organisations it runs competitive reverse auctions through its proprietary technology. This ensures that its clients have access to the lowest prices across the market while achieving their net zero energy ambitions. It offers a Risk Managed service for clients that wish to have access to the energy wholesale markets and implements hedging strategies to help protect against rising market prices.

The total consideration for the Acquisition (which includes £0.7 million of surplus cash in the business) comprises approximately £2.4 million in cash and the issue of 64,948,456 consideration shares.

For the year to 31 December 2019, Beond’s revenue grew 10.5% to £3.3 million, with EBITDA of approximately £0.5 million at a margin of 14.1%;

eEnergy Group expects Beond to generate:

  • revenue growth at an annual average rate of 22% from the year to 31 December 2020 to 31 December 2022
  • base case EBITDA for the year to 31 December 2021 of approximately £0.8 million;
  • EBITDA margin improvement from 14% for the year to 31 December 2019 to 28% for the year to 31 December 2022;

The cash component will be funded through a placing of a minimum of £3.0 million to new and existing institutional and other investors, at a Placing Price of 10.0 pence per placing share.

CEO of Beond, Derek Myers, is expected to join the Board of eEnergy on completion of the acquisition.

An integration team, led by new (non-Board) Chief Operating Officer, Robert Van Leeuwen, is expected to work closely with the Beond management team and oversee initiatives to accelerate growth.

Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, commented: 

“The acquisition of Beond is the next step in our journey to delivering a sustainable future for our clients. Beond’s, a climate action business, leverages award-winning technology to secure the best zero carbon energy supply for their customers. With a focus on energy management, their technology will add significant value to eEnergy’s existing client base by helping to make ‘Net Zero’ a reality. Beond’s platform is one of a very small number of specialised reverse auction technologies available to customers, securing the best priced zero carbon energy through a highly competitive auction process. 

eEnergy, listed on AIM, is the parent company of eLight and RSL, which help businesses and schools switch to energy-efficient LED.

UK, London

424 Capital invests in Hospital Energy


Boston based investment firm 424 Capital has launched its first new fund in the 424 series, 424 Capital Fund I, which simultaneously completed the acquisition of Hospital Energy, anenergy management firm which develops and manages energy procurement strategies for US hospital systems.

Together with Eagle Private Capital, 424 Capital purchased a majority share from Founder and CEO Mark Mininberg, who will remain CEO of Hospital Energy. 

Founded in 1995, Hospital Energy’s energy procurement programs serve to lower a hospital’s spend on gas and electricity while reducing energy price volatility. Managing energy use and spend at over 200 hospitals, the Company focuses on all matters related to energy efficiency, resiliency, and sustainability and is the only energy procurement organization focused exclusively on the hospital market in all deregulated US markets. Hospital Energy also organizes and manages onsite renewable power generation which serve to decrease cost, increase their client’s resilience to power interruptions, and meet reduced carbon footprint standards set by state and local governments.

“I’m very pleased with our investment in Hospital Energy.  The Company’s focus on energy management and sustainability is 100% aligned with our core values and investment goals” said Walter Beinecke, Partner at 424 Capital, who will serve as Chairman of the Company.  “Mark Mininberg has built a very solid business with the best possible reputation, which will serve as a terrific platform as we seek to build leadership in the US energy management sector.”

“424 Capital has built strong industry knowledge in energy management and has a long history investing in the healthcare sector”, said CEO Mark Mininberg. “We are excited to partner with 424 Capital while continuing to provide the highest level of service to our client base.”

USA, Wakefield, MA & Elmhurst, IL

Allured Business Media acquires Creative Age

Allured Business Media has acquired publishing house Creative Age.

Creative Age was founded in 1971 by CEO Deborah Carver. Its brands include medical aesthetic brand MedEsthetics, professional nail brand NAILPRO, professional salon brand Beauty Launchpad and spa professional brand DAYSPA, along with its associated sub-brands and the NAILPRO events.

Allured Business Media already owns professional spa publication Skin Inc., fragrance and flavor formulation brand Perfumer & Flavorist, cosmetic business brand Global Cosmetic Industry and cosmetic science and technology brand Cosmetics & Toiletries.

Allured CEO George Fox noted, “We have a vested interest in all things beauty here at Allured, and this gives us the opportunity to build our breadth in beauty and personal care to include so many more touchpoints in professional spa and salon.”

Allured Business Media plans to utilize its digital and event expertise and the success of Creative Age to round out and expand the business. This will include a focus on content and engagement across all mediums to fully serve the business and educational needs of the salon and spa market.

Allure’s press release states that many Creative Age staff will remain after the transition, including editors, sales managers and CEO Deborah Carver. The terms of the deal were disclosed.

USA, Carol Stream, IL & Van Nuys, CA

CB Insights acquires VentureSource data from Dow Jones

CB Insights has acquired the data assets of VentureSource, a comprehensive portfolio relating to venture capital markets, from Dow Jones

The VentureSource database provides detailed and comprehensive data on venture-backed companies – including their investors and executives – in every region, industry, and stage of development throughout the world. This data helps customers find deal and partnership opportunities, perform comprehensive due diligence, and examine trends in venture capital investment, fundraising, and liquidity. 

The acquisition expands CB Insights’ private company data with data going back to 1983, including:

  • Private company valuations 
  • Management team information 
  • Data on deal service providers, including law firms and investment banks 

With the addition of the VentureSource database, CB Insights strengthens its position as a leader in emerging technology information and private market data.  

“Having the deepest and most complete data on emerging technology companies and technology markets is what our clients rely on CB Insights for, and the acquisition of the VentureSource database from Dow Jones furthers that mission,” said Anand Sanwal, CEO and co-founder of CB Insights. “Whether our clients are looking for technology vendors, partners, M&A targets and/or investments, they are now better equipped to discover and understand these companies and tech markets with the Dow Jones data we’ve acquired as a result of this transaction.”  

“CB Insights is well positioned to take VentureSource into its next chapter, in a way that provides even more value for customers,” said Chris Lloyd, head of Dow Jones’s Professional Information Business. “VentureSource’s high-quality data was developed through proprietary research and using content within Factiva — Dow Jones’s global database of more than 33,000 trusted news and information sources.”

CB Insights has also entered into a licensing arrangement with Dow Jones, which will see it provide a limited set of research reports and company data for Factiva. 

USA, New York. NY

Government backed Acquisition Finance now available

The Government has confirmed one of the eligible purposes of The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is to fund the buying of businesses in the UK. This will provide a boost to M&A activity enabling businesses with turnovers of up to £45 million to make strategic acquisitions while benefiting from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments for their financing. In turn, sellers will be able to sell their businesses during a difficult period.

So, is now the time to make acquisitions or to sell your business?

The answer for some businesses is Yes.

One way to safeguard your business in difficult times and to ensure its future is to grow profitable revenue streams. Acquisitions of strategic targets can achieve this. Furthermore, this is a time when there may be real value in the market.

Sellers will also benefit. Fusion have been retained by a number of sellers and approached by and are aware of a number of acquirers who can offer finance (whether through CIBLS or not) to secure the future of prospective selling business; and where a seller’s business may be suffering some distress, the use of earnouts and other structures will allow sellers to benefit from future profits.

If you would like a confidential chat to discuss the options please let us know.

What is The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)?

CIBLS is open to businesses with an annual turnover of up to £45 million facing cashflow difficulties who previously would not have been eligible for CBILS because they met the requirements for a standard commercial facility. The scheme went live on Monday 23 March and will initially run for six months. CIBLS is available through more than 40 accredited lenders across the UK.

It guarantees facilities up to a maximum of £5 million, available on repayment terms up to six years (for term loans and asset finance) and up to three years (for overdrafts and invoice finance facilities). The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed guarantee against the outstanding balance of the facility.

There is no guarantee fee to access the scheme. The Government will make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees. You will therefore benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.

To be eligible for a facility under CBILS, your business must:

  • Be UK-based in its business activity
  • Have an annual turnover of no more than £45 million
  • Have a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, were it not for the current pandemic
  • Self-certify that it has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Full details are available at the 100% Government owned, but independently managed British Business Bank website.

If you are interested in acquiring or selling a business get in touch with Fusion. We are ready to help.

Bloomsbury Publishing acquires Zed Books assets

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (“Bloomsbury”) announces today that it has acquired certain assets of Zed Books Limited, the London-based academic and non-fiction publisher. The consideration was £1.75 million, of which £0.875 million was satisfied in cash on completion and the remainder to be paid within 12 months.

Zed will operate within Bloomsbury’s Academic & Professional division and is expected to contribute approximately £0.8 million of revenue to Bloomsbury in its first year. The Acquisition is expected to break even in its first year, before reorganisation and acquisition costs, then be earnings enhancing thereafter, with improved profit following the integration of the business into Bloomsbury.

The acquired Zed titles are a good strategic fit with Bloomsbury’s existing publishing lists, whilst strengthening its offerings in African Studies and Development Studies. With the combined lists of Zed and I.B. Tauris, Bloomsbury is now a leader in academic Area Studies publishing. The Acquisition also enhances Bloomsbury’s Politics and International Relations list.

Jonathan Glasspool, Managing Director of Bloomsbury’s Academic & Professional Division said, “We are delighted to become the new guardian of the prestigious and progressive Zed list. The Zed programme aligns very well with our existing publishing within I.B. Tauris, and complements Bloomsbury Academic’s publishing across a wide range of humanities and social science subjects. Over 40 years, Zed has built up a unique presence in African and Development Studies, an area we wish to grow. We greatly look forward to working with Zed’s wonderful range of authors and partners.”

UK, London

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