Marlowe acquires property health and safety consultancy William Martin valuing the business at up to £30M

Marlowe+PLC+logoMarlowe plc, the support services group, has acquired William Martin Compliance Solutions Limited and Ivor Roy Limited for an implied total enterprise value of £30.0 million.

Formed in 2004, William Martin is a leading technology-enabled UK provider of property-related health and safety audit and consultancy services. It provides recurring consultancy alongside a leading software-as-a-service compliance platform to a wide range of commercial customers across the UK to ensure regulatory compliance in areas such as health & safety, fire safety, water safety, asbestos management and contractor management. The business employs approximately 100 staff and has offices in London, Leeds and Norwich.

Through providing consultancy services integrated with Meridian, its proprietary software platform, William Martin enables customers to manage risk and statutory compliance across their properties. William Martin’s services significantly extend Marlowe’s capabilities towards providing its customers with a comprehensive approach to their health & safety and regulatory compliance needs, from initial audit through to full implementation, and are expected to generate significant cross-selling opportunities.

For the year to 30 April 2018, William Martin generated revenues of £7.5 million, EBITDA of £2.3 million at a margin of approximately 30%, and profit before tax of £2.4 million. Approximately 85% of William Martin’s revenues are recurring. As at period end, the business has net assets of approximately £2.3 million.

Alex Dacre, Chief Executive of Marlowe Plc, said, “The acquisition of William Martin significantly accelerates our strategy of providing our customers with a comprehensive one-stop approach to their health & safety and regulatory compliance needs. William Martin is a market leader which shares a similar channel to market with our existing businesses and benefits from strong relationships with customers who place a high value on the consultancy and software services. We are confident that this acquisition will generate attractive returns for Marlowe’s shareholders.”

UK, London

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Inspired to acquire energy procurement business Inprova Finance Limited for £19.5M

inspired-logo3Inspired, an energy procurement consultancy, has conditionally agreed to acquire Inprova Finance Limited (IFL) for £19.5 million in cash from Inprova Group Limited .

Inspired proposes to raise up to £19 million by way of a conditional placing of 115,151,516 new Ordinary Shares at 16.5 pence per Ordinary Share to finance the balance of the Consideration and associated advisory fees relating to the Acquisition.

IFL provides energy procurement and consultancy services to its help it customers buy energy efficiently and monitor and reduce their carbon footprint. The company has access to 19,000 meter points through over 1,000 customers. It operates in four main sectors – data centres, social housing, education and construction.

In the year ended 30 June 2018, IFL had revenues of £7.8 million and EBITDA of £2.9 million; at 30 June 2018, IFL’s order book stood at c.£11.6 million

Commenting on the proposed acquisition, Mark Dickinson, Chief Executive Officer of Inspired, said: “We are delighted to have agreed the acquisition of IFL and its group of energy businesses. This acquisition provides an opportunity to drive further growth from Inspired’s established platform and deliver value creation, both strategically and operationally, in addition to strengthening the Group’s position as a leading TPI in the UK and Ireland. We look forward to working with the team as we continue to accelerate our next phase of growth.”

In April 2015, Fusion completed the sale of two business to Inprova Group in two days: Two Fusion Deals in Two Days: The sale of energyTEAM and ENER-G Procurement – full story

UK, Kirkham, Lancashire & Warrington, Cheshire

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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

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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AgriBriefing rumoured to be up for sale

AgriBriefingBetaville is reporting that agribusiness media, price reporting and intelligence company AgriBriefing is about to be sold by its private equity owners, Lyceum Capital.

AgriBriefing creates and sells prices for eggs, red meat and animal feed and publishes the Farmers Guardian. The company also runs Britain’s largest farm machinery and equipment show – Lamma.

Reports suggest that Lyceum is unlikely to begin a sale process until later this year or early 2019 as it has just appointed Raymond James to carry out a strategic review.

UK, London

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Hg makes strategic investment in Financial Express

Hg Capital plcHg, the manager of HgCapital Trust plc, is to make a significant investment in Financial Express, a leading data, analytics and software vendor focussed on the UK and Australian retail investment funds markets. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. HgCapital Trust plc will invest approximately £7.5 million in FE, with other institutional clients of Hg investing alongside the Company through the Mercury 2 Fund.

Based on the 30 April 2018 NAV, the company’s liquid resources available for future deployment, including all announced transactions, are estimated to be £145 million (20% of the 30 April 2018 pro forma NAV of £712.8 million). In addition, the company has access to an £80 million standby facility, which is currently undrawn. The investment will reduce the company’s outstanding commitments to invest in Hg transactions over the next four to five years to approximately £587 million.

Founded by Michael Holland and Craig Wilson, FE is a leading provider of investment data, research and software to the financial services industry in the UK and operates a proprietary database of complete retail funds data with global coverage and history, built up over 20 years. Trusted by investors, advisers, asset managers and platforms who use FE data, software and investment advice every day, FE is a leading player in supporting the UK fund industry.

The investment will be made from the Mercury 2 Fund. FE has a number of business characteristics that Hg looks for, including a strong position in the wealth / asset management software and data sector, a well-recognised brand, mission-critical products, and a strong management team led by Neil Bradford.

The investment comes on the back of significant expansion of FE’s global operations and product offering over the past few years, and another year of record growth for the company in 2017.

Sebastien Briens, Partner at Hg, said: ‘We have been following FE for a number of years, and have been impressed by the strength and depth of its data, products, team and vision. We are very pleased to partner with Michael, Craig and Neil in the next stage of growth for the business.’

Neil Bradford, CEO at FE, said: ‘Hg’s track record and experience in our sector means they are the perfect partner to continue FE’s growth strategy and international expansion ambitions. We look forward to working with the Hg team.’

Michael Holland, co founder of FE, said: ‘Data is at the foundation of everything we do and Hg has a deep understanding of the fund data space. I am confident that this partnership will hugely benefit our clients.’

UK, London