Inspired Energy acquires Professional Cost Management Group

inspired-logo3Inspired Energy, an energy procurement consultant to UK and Irish businesses, has acquired Professional Cost Management Group Limited (“PCMG”), a national cost recovery specialist, for up to £700,000Inspired Energy is making an initial cash payment of £150,000, with a potential further £550,000 subject to the achievement of targets based on future EBITDA performance. 

For the financial year ended 31 December 2017, PCMG had revenues of £2.84 million, EBITDA of £(0.17) million, and a net loss of £(0.19) million. Net assets as at 31 December 2017 stood at £0.7 million.

PCMG provides a forensic auditing service to identify and recover overpayments of utilities and telecoms bills on behalf of its clients and provides optimisation analysis to enable customers to improve their tariff and billing structure. The company was founded in 1993 and was acquired by Alma Consulting Group SAS (a subsidiary of the French Ayming Group) in March 2008.

The Managing Director of PCMG will remain with the enlarged Group after completion and Inspired Energy intends to incentivise the Managing Director and other key employees of PCMG by granting share options in the Group following completion. PCMG is based in Blackpool. The business will be relocated to Inspired Energy’s Kirkham head office on expiry of the current lease that runs to November 2018.

Commenting on the acquisition, Mark Dickinson, CEO of Inspired said: “We are delighted to conclude the acquisition of PCMG, which is a highly complementary addition to Inspired’s core Corporate Division. The PCMG team and brand are well respected within the sector.”

UK, Kirkham, Lancashire and Blackpool, Lancashire

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LDC backs Love Energy

LDCPrivate equity investor LDC has invested more than £25m in Love Energy Savings, an energy price comparison specialist, in a secondary buyout of the business.  The deal also marks a partial exit for NVM Private Equity, which first backed the business in September 2015.

Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Bolton, Love Energy specialises in the comparison of business energy prices. It connects small and medium-sized businesses with the UK energy supplier that offers the most appropriate gas and electricity tariff, before helping its customers to switch provider.

Under the leadership of CEO and co-founder Phil Foster, Love Energy has grown rapidly. For the financial year ending 31 December 2017 it recorded revenues of £17.4m (2016: £13.2m) and today supports more than 40,000 customers nationwide.

LDC’s investment will enable Foster and his team to accelerate their organic growth strategy. This will include the expansion of Love Energy Solutions, its corporate services division which supports major energy users across the industrial and commercial sector, further investment in its proprietary technology platforms and continued diversification into the water telecoms and insurance markets.

The transaction was led by Richard Ibbett and Jonathan Bell at LDC in Manchester, with support from Dan Gluckman at LDC in London. Jonathan and Richard will both join the board as non-executive directors.

As part of the deal, Steve Weller will also join the board as non-executive chairman. Weller has more than 10 years’ experience driving growth at technology-led businesses and was CEO of the energy switching service uSwitch until July 2018, where he worked closely with LDC during its support of the business between 2013 and 2015.

Richard Ibbett, investment director at LDC in Manchester, said: “Love Energy Savings is a fantastic business with an entrepreneurial, ambitious management team at the helm. Under Phil’s stewardship, it has continued to invest in its offering and diversify to create scale, yet the quality of service it provides to customers, suppliers and intermediaries has never wavered. In a market that is crying out for transparency this has set the business apart and with a commitment to help save businesses money there is even further opportunity for growth. We’re looking forward to partnering with Phil and his team on the next phase of their journey.”

UK, Manchester & Bolton

FC Business Intelligence targets growth with LDC investment

LDCMid-market private equity investor LDC has backed the management buyout of global events company FC Business Intelligence. The value of the transaction is undisclosed.

FCBI delivers conference and exhibition events with a focus on providing thought leadership in a diverse range of sectors that are facing both challenges and opportunities from technological and strategic innovation including the energy, insurance, pharmaceuticals transportation and travel sectors. Its offering is designed to help senior business professionals stay at the forefront of change through insight sharing and networking with peers.

The investment will enable FCBI to target further organic growth as it plans to increase the scale of its events and expand into new markets, including Asia. The business will also look to make a number of acquisitions both at home and overseas.FC Business Intelligence

With 130 employees based at its head office in Shoreditch, FCBI operates globally with 65 per cent of the company’s annual turnover of £30 million generated in the US, 20 per cent in continental Europe and 10 per cent in the UK.

LDC is backing FCBI’s existing management team, led by Chief Executive Officer Piers Latimer. The investment marks an exit for its original founders.

The deal was led by investment director David Andrews and investment manager Alex Wilby. David Andrews and Rob Schofield will join the board of the business with Tim Trotter joining as Non-Executive Chairman, bringing significant experience of growing PE-backed people businesses internationally. David Gilbertson, former CEO of EMAP and Informa, also joins as a Non-Executive Director, bringing a wealth of industry experience.

Piers Latimer, Chief Executive Officer of FCBI, said, “We have established a worldwide reputation for developing high-quality strategic events that deliver the insights business leaders need to direct their companies and shape their markets. With demand for our services only set to increase, we’re in a great position to accelerate growth. Bringing on board an experienced and well-connected investment partner in LDC felt right at this juncture and we’re excited to be moving forward with their support”.

David Andrews, investment director at LDC in London, added, “Piers and his management team have overseen a remarkable period of growth for FCBI thanks to their focus on content-rich, delegate-led events that deliver real value to more than 9,000 attendees and 1,400 sponsors and exhibitors each year. The opportunity now is for the management team to strengthen and extend this growth and we’re looking forward to supporting them on this journey.”

UK, London

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Consortium to buy Dun & Bradstreet for $6.9BN

Dun & BradstreetAn investor group led by CC Capital, Cannae Holdings and funds affiliated with Thomas H. Lee Partners LP is to acquire financial services firm Dun & Bradstreet in a take-private deal valued at $5.4 billion, excluding debt.

Under the buyout agreement, shareholders of the 177-year-old Short Hills, N.J., financial-services company will receive $145 in cash for each share of common stock they own, Dun & Bradstreet said late Wednesday in a news release. That represents a premium of about 30% over its closing share price of $111.63 on Feb. 12, the last trading day before the company said it planned a strategic review of the business.

Thomas J. Manning, Dun & Bradstreet’s chief executive, said that the deal is the “culmination of a thoughtful and comprehensive review of the value creation opportunities available to the company as part of a full portfolio and business assessment and exploration of strategic alternatives with multiple financial sponsors”. Mr. Manning and James N. Fernandez, a director of the firm, will serve as CEO and chairman, respectively, through the deal’s closing, Dun & Bradstreet said.

The New York Stock Exchange-listed company will become privately held after the closing of the deal, which it values at $6.9 billion including the assumption of $1.5 billion of Dun & Bradstreet’s net debt and net pension obligations.

“As a private company, Dun & Bradstreet will be well positioned to reinvigorate growth and create increased value for all stakeholders,” said Thomas Hagerty, a managing director at private-equity firm Thomas H. Lee.

The deal will be financed through a combination of committed equity financing provided by the investor group, as well as debt financing that has been committed to by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Inc. and RBC Capital Markets, Dun & Bradstreet said.

Dun & Bradstreet said its board is unanimously recommending that shareholders vote to adopt the agreement a coming special meeting. The deal is expected to close within six months, subject to shareholder approval, regulatory and other customary conditions, Dun & Bradstreet said.

However, the agreement also provides for a 45-day “go-shop” period to draw more potential buyers, the company said.

Dun & Bradstreet said it would have the right to terminate the deal agreement to enter into a superior proposal subject to certain conditions and procedures.

JPMorgan is serving as financial adviser to the company. Financial advisers to the buyer include BofA Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and RBC Capital Markets, Dun & Bradstreet said.

The company has also released second-quarter earnings, saying it recorded net income of $93 million, or earnings per share of $2.50, on revenue of $439.6 million.

USA, Short Hills, NJ & New York, NY

Inspired Energy acquire Squareone Enterprises

inspired-logo3Inspired Energy has acquired Squareone Enterprises Limited in a deal worth up to in a £1.375 million. Squareone is a provider of energy procurement, energy management and water procurement services with a strong presence in the education and manufacturing sectors.

Inspired are paying £0.75 million in cash, plus an earn out of up to £0.625 million based on revenue targets for the 12 month periods ending 31 March 2019 and 2020.

In financial year ending March 2018, Squareone had revenues of £0.5 million, EBITDA of £0.25 million, and generated operating cash of £0.23 million. Net assets as at 31 March 2018 stood at £0.1 million.

Commenting on the acquisitions, Mark Dickinson, CEO of Inspired Energy said: “We are delighted to conclude the acquisition of Squareone, which is a highly complementary addition to Inspired’s core Corporate Division. The Squareone team are well respected within the sector, and were deservedly recognised as such at the 2018 Energy Live Consultancy Awards. The Acquisition further enhances our customer base and strengthens our sector specialisms.”

The business is based in Boldon, Tyne and Wear, close to the head office of Churchcom Limited, a company acquired by Inspired in April 2017. Michael Harkus, co-founder and Managing Director of Squareone, will remain with the Group after completion.

UK, Kirham, Lancashire & Boldon, Tyne and Wear

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GoCompare.com acquires energy switching specialist Energylinx for £10M

go-compare-logo-newGoCompare.com Group plc has acquired Energylinx for £10m in cash.

Energylinx is an energy comparison and switching specialist and has commercial relationships 69 domestic energy and 40 business energy suppliers. Customers include Which? and Citizens Advice Bureau. The company operates a white-label proposition, with around 200 active affiliates.

Matthew Crummack, CEO of GoCompare, said: “We are pleased to announce this acquisition, which marks yet another significant milestone for the Group as we continue to build services that work for both our customers and partners. Energylinx has an excellent reputation in the industry among energy suppliers and those who use its white-label services, and we will leverage our strong brand, tech and product capabilities to expand its reach and impact to help save even more people time and money.

Energylinx is headquartered in Alloa, Scotland and employs a team of 20 staff. Following completion, Ken Geddes, founder and CEO will join the Group.

UK, Wales, Newport & UK, Scotland, Alloa

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Bridgepoint Development Capital to acquire Private Equity International

BridgepointBridgepoint Development Capital is to acquire a majority stake in PEI Media – the global provider of insight, market-data and business conferences for professionals active in alternative asset class investment. Details of the transaction were not disclosed. The business is being acquired from its founders, management and minority shareholder, LDC.

PEI Media focuses on private investment markets in real estate, infrastructure, private equity, and private debt – including specialist sector-specific activities within those private asset markets. The group has developed deep connections with international sources of alternative investment capital since its inception in 2001. Clients served include public sector and company pension plans, insurance groups, endowments and family offices – as well as leading private-asset fund managers who raise and deploy capital raise from institutional investors.

PEI was formed following a management buyout from Euromoney Institutional Investor plc. It has grown a diversified portfolio of alternative asset-focused publications, databases and branded events. Headquartered in London with offices in Hong Kong and New York, the company currently employs around 180 people and has clients based in over 80 countries. The company’s publications include PERE, Infrastructure Investor, Private Debt Investor, Private Equity International, Real Estate Capital, Private Funds Management, Agri Investor and Secondaries Investor, amongst others.

BDC Partner Robin Lawson said, “PEI is recognised for its differentiated insight into the worlds of multiple alternative asset classes. As investors look for higher yields, continued inflows into these classes means that there is growing demand for the information, analysis and event-networking opportunities of providers like PEI. Today’s investment by BDC will support the continued international expansion of the business as well as further development of its technology platform and digital product set. Our aim in working with PEI’s management will be to ensure that it remains best-placed to scale its digital offering in a growing market and deliver progressive evolution of its specialist-brand in line with advancing client needs. In this way, we expect that increasingly sophisticated customers, both existing and new, will remain able to access the information and market connections they increasingly need to be successful in their global alternative investment strategies.”

UK, London

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