Futuresource

Corbett Keeling has advised Futuresource and its founders on joining a private equity backed family of high growth businesses.

About Futuresource

Futuresource is a specialist research and knowledge-based consulting company specialising in market forecasts and intelligence reports.

Futuresource provides essential data and strategic insight to a range of clients with an interest in the dynamic electronics and media industries including the largest well-known global brands.

The founders of Futuresource had built a successful business over 20+ years and were looking to reduce their financial commitment and find a good home for the business as they stepped back.

Our role and added value

Corbett Keeling was engaged to find and execute the best solution for Futuresource and the founders.

We worked closely with Futuresource’s senior management over a number of months to identify and assess their strategic options, develop targeted business plans and structure the deal to capture value.

Our approach achieved an optimal valuation for the exiting founders and a great home for the business.

Sarah Carrol, Co-founder of Futuresource, said: “As with most entrepreneurs, we have poured our hearts into our business and, although realising we would at some point need to step back, were cautious about beginning the process. The team at Corbett Keeling really were excellent at guiding us through the options and, when the time came, ensuring we secured the best deal with the best partner.”

Ian Roper, CEO of Futuresource, said: “None of the Futuresource team had fully realised how much effort goes into preparing for and executing a transaction. I am extremely pleased we had the Corbett Keeling team working with us side-by-side throughout, their input was essential and added value both for the exiting founders and for the ongoing business.”

Eric, Private Equity Principal , said: “We love this business and the management team’s plan for it. My thanks go to Corbett Keeling for connecting us to this opportunity and helping build a deal that works for all sides – they clearly know what we are looking for and drew out the key points.”

 

Acutest

Corbett Keeling has advised the founders of Acutest Limited on the sale of their business to Capita plc. Acutest is a leading IT systems testing consultancy, which focuses solely on testing software, business processes and IT, enabling its customers to achieve the benefits of technology-enabled change faster. The company’s customers range from start-ups through to blue chip multinational organisations.  Acutest was founded by Tom Norris, Barry Varley and Lee Farman in 2002. The founders and the Acutest team will operate within Capita plc’s IT Professional Services division.

Air Charter Service Group

Corbett Keeling advised the founders and other shareholders of Air Charter Service Group Limited (“ACS”) on the sale of a minority stake in ACS to private equity investor Alcuin Capital Partners (“Alcuin”).

ACS is a global leader in the aircraft charter market. Founded in 1990 by Chairman Chris Leach, it now employs a worldwide staff of more than 350 employees across 20 offices spanning six continents.  The group offers private jet, commercial airliner and cargo aircraft charters, arranging more than 10,000 charters annually.

Justin Bowman, Chief Executive Officer of ACS, said: “The fact that this company has grown from the basement of a house to the largest charter brokerage in the world is a huge achievement and testament to our amazing team and corporate culture.  However, we are still an ambitious organisation.  Our growth to date has been entirely organic and whilst we will continue to follow those strategies that have been successful in the past, we wish to accelerate our expansion through capital investments in both technology and acquisitions of complementary businesses.”

Adrian Lurie, Partner of Alcuin Capital Partners said: “Air Charter Service is a leader in its field with a great team and strong track record of profitable growth. Their plans going forward are exciting and we are looking forward to working with them in this next phase of the business’ development. Corbett Keeling’s insight and understanding of ACS were invaluable and we were delighted to work with Jim Keeling and his team to bring the deal to a successful conclusion.”

ACS press release

 

“It was a pleasure dealing with Jim Keeling and his team throughout the process. We wanted to find the right partners and to do the right deal for us – Corbett Keeling delivered just that.”

Christopher Leach, Co-Founder and Chairman of ACS

Service
Sector
Year
2016
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Applied Market Information

Corbett Keeling announces that private equity investor Alcuin Capital Partners (Alcuin) has acquired a majority stake in Applied Market Information Ltd (AMI), a leading information and conference business, from its original founders and shareholders whom Corbett Keeling advised.

With offices in the United Kingdom and North America, AMI is a leading provider of information services to the global plastics industry through syndicated reports, databases, digital magazines, consulting and conferences. The company has grown steadily since it was founded in 1986.  This year the company will hold over 40 conferences for the plastics industry in Europe, the USA and the Far East – more than any other competitor world-wide.

The team at Corbett Keeling, led by Jim Keeling, Francois Barou and Matt Dixon, advised the founders of AMI on the investment by Alcuin, which completed on 22 May 2015. The founders will continue to be actively involved in the business and have retained a significant minority stake.

Sale of Applied Market Information press release – June 2015

“Not only was Corbett Keeling’s advice always timely, to the point and in our best interest but, crucially, they had outstanding knowledge and understanding of the potential buyers, whether trade or financial and UK or overseas.”

John Horgan, Co-founder and Director of AMI

Service
Sector
Year
2015
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Consultancy business

Corbett Keeling and our Support services industry specialist team at Equiteq advised the owners of  a US consulting business on its confidential sale.

“This transaction is another example of how Corbett Keeling works together with our industry sector specialists and our international network of corporate finance advisers at Globalscope Partners to provide our clients with the best possible advice.”

Jim Keeling, Chairman and Chief Executive of Corbett Keeling

Service
Sector
Year
2014
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Challenge Energy

Corbett Keeling and Equiteq advised Challenge Energy on building the value of their business and subsequently on the sale of the company to SLR.

Having initially advised the founders of Challenge Energy on how to make the value of their business clear to prospective partners, Corbett Keeling then managed the sale of the company, guiding the founders of the business through the whole process of selling their company to ensure that they attracted the right purchaser, at the right time for the right price.

Press Release – Sale of Challenge Energy

“The advisory team at Corbett Keeling / Equiteq provided crucial input both prior to and during this transaction. Over about two years up to closing the deal, they advised on how to make the value of our business clear to prospective partners and then deal with their approaches. This helped us attract the right company, at the right time for the right price. In the final months, during the sale process itself, they provided invaluable input on how to present to, and negotiate with, the purchasers. Throughout, they were always available when needed, working diligently and providing incisive, timely advice.”

Nick Hooke, co-founder of Challenge Energy

Service
Sector
Year
2014
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HedgeStart Partners

Corbett Keeling, together with our partner firm Equiteq, advised HedgeStart Partners on the sale of their business to Cordium, a company in which Buy & Build specialist Sovereign Capital is an investor.

Hedgestart was founded in 2000 to offer a range of start-up and on-going outsourced services predominantly to alternative investment businesses. Services include: Corporate Tax; Private Client Tax; FCA Regulatory Compliance; Accountancy & Payroll; and Strategic Consulting. Cordium is a global provider of regulatory compliance consulting and software services to regulated financial services companies.

“There is continuing strong demand for outsourced independent compliance consultancy as a result of increasing financial regulation and investor governance transparency requirements. This acquisition further enhances Cordium's position as a high-quality global provider of regulatory compliance consulting to regulated financial services companies.”

Neil Cox, Director of Sovereign Capital

Service
Sector
Year
2014
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Alpha Financial Markets Consulting

Corbett Keeling and its partner firm Equiteq LLP advised Alpha Financial Markets Consulting, a leading provider of consulting, benchmarking and implementation services to financial institutions in the UK, Continental Europe and globally, on the sale of their business to UK Private Equity group, Baird Capital, in a transaction valuing the company at £28m.

This deal is a good example of the resurgence of Private Equity (“PE”) interest in consulting firms with a strong growth history. Alpha attracted 8 offers from the PE community and the shareholders chose Baird because of the flexibility of the deal structure, the financial resources they could make available and the support that Baird offered the management team in taking the company to the next stage of growth.

“We were very pleased with the support we received from Corbett Keeling and Equiteq. They were very knowledgeable about our industry, helped us build a compelling value case for an investment by Baird, and managed our process very effectively and diligently to achieve an excellent result for all.”

Nick Kent, former CEO and now vice-Chairman of Alpha

Service
Sector
Year
2013
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pH Associates

pH Associates, the market leading ‘Real World Data’ and ‘Market Access’ consultancy in the health sector, was sold to OPEN Health, a joint venture with global communications group Chime Communications Plc.  pH Associates was set up by Kate Peperell and Lesley Howell in 1999.

As the two founding shareholders started to consider an exit for the business they had created, they appointed Corbett Keeling and its partner firm Equiteq to carry out an Equity Growth Accelerator to assess how to grow revenue, build equity and sell the business at the right time for maximum value. Once they had reached this “right time”, Kate and Lesley appointed Corbett Keeling and Equiteq to advise them on the sale of their business.

 

“We are absolutely delighted with the deal, our new home with Chime and what that means for the future of our business. It's been a pleasure working with the Corbett Keeling/Equiteq team, their expertise in our sector and attention to detail was instrumental in making the deal happen with a win/win deal structure for both parties.”

Lesley Howell, Co-founding Director, PH Associates Ltd

Service
Sector
Year
2012
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Explore Learning

Explore Learning, the UK company with multiple English and maths tuition centres, led by founder Bill Mills, was sold to Graphite Capital. The controlling shareholding was acquired from a group of investors including the Spectrum Venture Management Fund and Wittington Investments Limited. Bill Mills and the senior management team re-invested the majority of their stake in the company.

Corbett Keeling has worked with Bill Mills, who set up Explore Learning in 2001, over many years and advised him throughout the sale process and particularly on the terms of his reinvestment in the business.

GMT Communications Partners

GMT Communications Partners backed the £38.5m investor buy-out of MeetingZone Ltd, a provider of conference call services to business and home users, from the founders, Tim Duffy and Steve Gandy.

Corbett Keeling introduced GMT Communications Partners to this investment opportunity.

 

 

“Corbett Keeling were extremely helpful with the acquisition of MeetingZone, including making a very early introduction to the company as a prospective investment for our funds at GMT.”

Tim Green, Partner and co-founder, GMT Communications

Service
Sector
Year
2011
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Redeem

Redeem, which recycles used mobile phones, print cartridges and other electronic devices, was acquired by a management buy-in team led by Curt Hopkins and Pete Petrondas and backed by Trevor Bayley, a founding partner of HgCapital.

Corbett Keeling helped identify the opportunity for the buy-in team.

Frazer-Nash

Frazer-Nash (Midhurst) Ltd, a company that designs and manufacturers food handling, processing and packaging machinery, was acquired by a management team led by Paul Mortlock.

Corbett Keeling advised Paul Mortlock and the investor on implementing the transaction.

Cordium

Cordium (previously known as IMS Consulting), a provider of consulting and business support services for the wholesale asset management and securities sector, was sold to an investor led management team comprising both existing and new directors.  The Buy-in Management Buy-out, or “BIMBO”, was backed by Sovereign Capital.

Corbett Keeling advised Scott Wilson, the founder of IMS, and his co-shareholder, on the strategy for the sale of their business and on the execution of the transaction.

HCML

HCML, the UK’s leading independent provider of professional rehabilitation, case management and employment services to the insurance industry, solicitors and corporate clients, undertook a secondary management buy-out from 3i.

Corbett Keeling advised Helen Merfield, CEO and founder of HCML on all aspects of the buy-out, including arranging funding, agreeing terms and managing the whole process on behalf of the management team.

 

“Corbett Keeling were a breath of fresh air - they came highly recommended and I can see why. We were a young management team with no experience in selling a business or trying to achieve an MBO and it was initially quite daunting. Their approach was personal and it really felt like they were not only on our side but totally supporting us, ensuring we understood each step and what we could achieve. It was largely due to them that we achieved the MBO we wanted. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone and have already done so.”

Helen Merfield, CEO, HCML

Service
Sector
Year
2008
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Efficio

Efficio, a management consultancy focused on procurement and supply chain optimisation, secured a debt financed equity release in order to provide funding for its shareholders.

Corbett Keeling advised Efficio on this fund raising against a very tight time-frame.

 

“Corbett Keeling came up with solutions for us where others could not find them. Their access to funding is excellent and their determination to get the deal completed in a tight time-frame was vital in achieving a successful outcome. What is more, we thoroughly enjoyed working with them.”

Jans Pederson, CEO, Efficio

Service
Sector
Year
2008
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Harris Hill

Harris Hill, a recruitment consultant specialising in the charity and not for profit sector, was sold to a management buy-in team backed by YFM Private Equity.

Corbett Keeling advised the shareholders of Harris Hill on all aspects of the sale of their business, including identifying possible buyers, negotiating terms and managing the process throughout.

 

“Over the course of the sale of our business we worked with several members of the team at Corbett Keeling. They were all excellent – showing strength in depth and breadth. The care and attention they put into advising us, and their skill in finding a buyer and dealing sensitively with all the parties involved in the transaction, were outstanding.”

Steve and Julie Hill, following the sale of Harris Hill to a Management Buy-in team

Service
Sector
Year
2007
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WestawayGillis

WestawayGillis, a global healthcare market access consultancy, was sold to WPP Group Plc.

Corbett Keeling advised the shareholders of WestawayGillis, which now trades as The WG Group.

Satec

Satec, water and waste water treatment specialists, raised development capital.

Corbett Keeling advised Satec on the strategy for raising finance.

Explore Learning

Explore Learning, provider of maths and English tuition to primary school aged children, raised development capital.

Corbett Keeling advised Explore Learning on its fund raising.

BUPA Healthcare Professionals

Advantage Healthcare, a leading healthcare services provider trading under the name BUPA Healthcare Professionals, was sold to a management team backed by Rutland Partners.

Corbett Keeling advised the management team on raising finance, structuring the transaction and negotiating terms.

Opus Holdings

Opus Holdings Limited, a regional insurance broking and group benefits consultancy business, backed by Bridgepoint Capital and Royal Bank of Scotland, was sold to Willis, the global insurance broker.

Corbett Keeling advised the Opus management team on its strategy for selling their business and the terms obtained.

 

 

“Corbett Keeling advised us on restructuring the funding of Opus Holdings. They were particularly helpful in discussions between the company, its private equity backers, and its senior debt and mezzanine funding providers. They then advised management on exit strategies which led to a successful exit from the business.”

Bob Bareham, Finance Director, Opus Holdings

Service
Sector
Year
2004
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Aspace Solutions

Aspace Solutions, a provider of business security solutions and specialist consultancy services to the banking sector, raised equity funding and sold a minority stake to a trade backer.

Corbett Keeling advised Aspace Solutions on this shareholder restructuring and equity financing.

Opus Holdings

Opus Holdings Limited, a regional insurance broking and group benefits consultancy business, refinanced mezzanine and senior debt.

Corbett Keeling advised Opus on this transaction.

“Corbett Keeling advised us on restructuring the funding of Opus Holdings. They were particularly helpful in discussions between the company, its private equity backers, and its senior debt and mezzanine funding providers. They then advised management on exit strategies which led to a successful exit from the business”

Bob Bareham, Finance Director, Opus Holdings

Service
Sector
Year
2003
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Binns & Co

Binns & Co, a financial PR consultant, raised equity funding and acquired Winningtons, a Bristol financial PR business.

Corbett Keeling advised Binns & Co on its fund raising and acquisition.

Linguaphone

Linguaphone, a provider of self-study language learning products and associated support services, raised development funding from a consortium of institutional investors, including Inflexion Ltd.

Corbett Keeling advised Linguaphone on this fund raising.

 

 

“Corbett Keeling advised Linguaphone on raising development capital over three successive funding rounds. It was the lead financial adviser on these transactions, providing necessary continuity throughout and ensuring a good balance of shareholders.”

Gordon Power of Inflexion Ltd, one of Linguaphone's principal institutional backers

Service
Sector
Year
2002
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Opus Holdings

Opus Holdings Limited, a regional insurance broking and group benefits consultancy business, refinanced equity, mezzanine and senior debt.

Corbett Keeling advised Opus on this transaction.

Opus Holdings

Opus Holdings Limited, a regional insurance broking and group benefits consultancy business, refinanced mezzanine and senior debt.

Corbett Keeling advised Opus on this transaction.

“Corbett Keeling advised us on restructuring the funding of Opus Holdings. They were particularly helpful in discussions between the company, its private equity backers, and its senior debt and mezzanine funding providers. They then advised management on exit strategies which led to a successful exit from the business.”

Bob Bareham, Finance Director, Opus Holdings

Service
Sector
Year
2001
Website
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Linguaphone

Linguaphone, a provider of self-study language learning products and associated support services, raised equity funding from two private equity investors.

Corbett Keeling advised Linguaphone on raising this equity finance and restructuring existing capital.

“Corbett Keeling advised Linguaphone on raising development capital over three successive funding rounds. It was the lead financial adviser on these transactions, providing necessary continuity throughout and ensuring a good balance of shareholders.”

Gordon Power of Inflexion Ltd, one of Linguaphone's principal institutional backers

Service
Sector
Year
2000
Website
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Virgincars.com

Virgin Cars Ltd, an online service launched by Virgin Group to provide a total motor vehicle sales and after-sales package, raised development capital.

Corbett Keeling advised Virgin Cars on raising development capital to support the launch of the business.

Service
Sector
Year
2000
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Linguaphone

Linguaphone, a provider of self-study language learning products and associated support services, raised equity funding and restructured debt by way of a rights issue, an issue of convertible preference shares and an issue of warrants to subscribe for ordinary shares.

Corbett Keeling advised Linguaphone on the funding and issue of shares and share warrants.

“Corbett Keeling advised Linguaphone on raising development capital over three successive funding rounds. It was the lead financial adviser on these transactions, providing necessary continuity throughout and ensuring a good balance of shareholders.”

Gordon Power of Inflexion Ltd, one of Linguaphone's principal institutional backers

Service
Sector
Year
1999
Website
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CASEwise Systems

CASEwise Systems Ltd, a developer of software to help improve business processes, raised debt finance.

Corbett Keeling advised CASEwise on obtaining debt finance and negotiating terms.

CASEwise Systems

CASEwise Systems Ltd, a developer of software to help improve business processes, raised equity capital from a syndicate of institutional and private investors.

Corbett Keeling advised CASEwise on raising this finance.