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.”

 

Pharmaceuticals business

Corbett Keeling advised a UK pharmaceuticals business on the confidential sale of one its assets.

Service
Sector
Year
2017
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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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Gee Lawson

Corbett Keeling advised the shareholders of Gee Lawson on the sale of the business to LEHVOSS UK Limited, the UK subsidiary of Germany-based Lehmann&VossCo.

Gee Lawson, founded in 1936 and employing 34 with its head office in London, is a leading specialist distributor of ingredients into the Nutritional and Chemical life science sectors across Europe and the US. The transaction is a strategic move that strengthens the LEHVOSS Group portfolio in the nutritional and life science sectors across Europe and globally.

Jim Keeling, who led the team advising Gee Lawson’s shareholders, commented “LEHVOSS UK, as a new owner, is a great match for Gee Lawson. We are delighted at the successful outcome.”

CK Press Release – Gee Lawson August 2015

“We saw in LEHVOSS UK a company with many of the key attributes we see in ourselves and it became an easy decision to sell to them. We were delighted with the advice and assistance we obtained from the Corbett Keeling team throughout the process in order to reach that point.”

Jonathan Shorts, Former Owner of Gee Lawson

Service
Sector
Year
2015
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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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Pharmaceuticals business

Corbett Keeling advised the owner of a UK pharmaceuticals business on its confidential sale to an overseas trade buyer.

“The sale of this pharmaceuticals business exemplifies the strength of Corbett Keeling's network of industry specialists working together with the core team to provide the best possible corporate finance advice to our clients.”

Andrew Dean, Head of Corbett Keeling's Healthcare team

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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Bestinvest

Corbett Keeling is pleased to announce that it has successfully advised its client, the wealth manager Bestinvest, on the sale of its insurance broking subsidiary, Lovat Insurance Brokers, to Towergate Insurance.

Bestinvest, provides investment advice, financial planning and execution-only services predominantly to private individuals. Lovat is a corporate insurance broker based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
Jim Keeling, Joint Chairman at Corbett Keeling, who led the transaction, commented: “The sale of Lovat Insurance Brokers has enabled Bestinvest to divest a non-core asset, whilst enhancing acquirer Towergate’s regional coverage and strengthening its relationships in the South East of England. This is yet another example of Corbett Keeling advising on the successful sale of a business where clear value was created for all parties.”

“Corbett Keeling executed this transaction for us with a high level of professionalism.”

Peter Hall, Chief Executive of Bestinvest

Service
Sector
Year
2014
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Advanced Power

The management team of Advanced Power UK Ltd, the leading international developer of independent power generation projects, acquired the company from 3i plc in an MBO. Advanced Power develops and invests in power generation and related infrastructure projects in Europe and North America.

Corbett Keeling provided targeted financial advice to the management team at key points during the MBO process and prior to that as the business was restructured.

“The team at Corbett Keeling provided incisive and timely advice over a period of several years in the build up to the MBO of Advanced Power. It was extremely helpful to be able to contact them as and when we needed. Their advice was not only helpful on the MBO itself but also in respect of wider business issues. We hope we will have the opportunity to work together again in the future – and are looking forward to that.”

Martin Bashall, General Counsel, Advanced Power AG

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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Hörmann Group

Hörmann International Beteiligungs GmbH, part of the Hörmann Group, a family owned German manufacturer of industrial and residential doors, acquired IG Doors Ltd, a UK manufacturer of external doors for the housebuilding industry. This provided an exit for NVM Private Equity, which backed the MBO of IG Doors in 2003.

Corbett Keeling identified the opportunity and, working together with its German Globalscope partner, CatCap Corporate Finance, introduced it to the Hörmann Group.

“Corbett Keeling’s familiarity with the UK private equity market alongside ours in Germany meant we were able to introduce to the Hörmann Group a unique opportunity to strengthen its presence in the UK industrial and domestic door market. It is an excellent example of how the Globalscope network of international corporate finance advisers can work.”

Michael Moritz, CatCap Corporate Finance

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.

Cantab Asset Management

Cantab Asset Management, the firm of independent financial advisers formerly known as Saunderson Asset Management, acquired Hodgson & Faraday, a fellow financial advisory firm.

Corbett Keeling introduced the opportunity to Cantab and advised on the terms of the transaction.

“Corbett Keeling identified and introduced us to Hodgson & Faraday as a suitable acquisition target. They then provided valuable input in the negotiations to help us complete the transaction.”

David Saunderson, Controlling Shareholder in Saunderson Asset Management

Service
Sector
Year
2011
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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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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.

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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Taut International

Taut International BVI, a manufacturer of sports drinks, was sold to A. G. Barr Plc.

Corbett Keeling advised the shareholders of Taut International on the sale of their business.

Service
Sector
Year
2008
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Healthcare Enterprise Group

Healthcare Enterprise Group Plc, an international healthcare services company focused on occupational healthcare, private healthcare services and distribution of medical devices, sold its subsidiary CICS, a supplier of medical and dental products, to Trycare Ltd, a supplier and distributor of products to the dental and chiropody markets.

Corbett Keeling advised Healthcare Enterprise Group on the sale of its subsidiary.

Service
Sector
Year
2007
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Tysers

Tysers, a provider of insurance and reinsurance brokerage services, was sold to its management team in a funding and share re-structuring led by Christopher Spratt as Chairman and Chris Elliott as Chief Executive.

Corbett Keeling advised on all aspects of this management buyout and shareholding restructuring, including advising the outgoing shareholders on the sale of their shares, the new shareholders on the acquisition of their shares, the company on the raising of finance and the terms of the transaction and managing the process throughout.

 

 

“Beyond the professionalism and expertise, which is easily taken for granted, Corbett Keeling brings a remarkable talent for managing Buyer's and Seller's expectations throughout the process of putting a deal together. This is an essential ingredient for a successful MBO.”

Christopher Spratt, Chairman, Tysers

Service
Sector
Year
2007
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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.

WaterRower

WaterRower (UK) Ltd, a manufacturer of sporting equipment, was sold to its senior manager.

Corbett Keeling advised WaterRower and its shareholders on the sale of their business to the management team.

CBS Insurance Holdings

CBS Insurance, a provider of non-life insurance services, sold its subsidiaries CBS General Partner and CBSICP Capital.

Corbett Keeling advised CBS Insurance on the sale of these businesses.

Service
Sector
Year
2006
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Airsprung Furniture Group

Airsprung Furniture Group plc, a leading UK bed manufacturer, sold a minority shareholding to private investors.

Corbett Keeling advised on the sale of this shareholding.

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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Interframe

Interframe, a manufacturer of UPVC window frames, was sold to Shepley, a fellow manufacturer of UPVC window frames and doors, backed by private equity investor ECI.

Corbett Keeling advised the owners on the sale of their business.

“Corbett Keeling identified a buyer for our business with pin-point accuracy. Many thanks for helping us to achieve a profitable end to our eight year period of owning and developing Interframe.”

Warrick Butler, former Managing Director of Interframe

Service
Sector
Year
2004
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Gieves & Hawkes

Gieves & Hawkes, the bespoke gentleman’s tailor, quoted on the London Stock Exchange, was subject to a recommended cash offer.

Corbett Keeling advised the independent directors of Gieves & Hawkes on the offer for the company, which was subject to the Takeover Code.

 

“Corbett Keeling helped us arrange a change of ownership at Gieves & Hawkes, with the controlling shareholder buying out the minority. We thoroughly enjoyed working with the firm and were particularly pleased with the efficient and cost-effective nature of their approach.”

Mike Nicholson, Chairman, Gieves & Hawkes

Service
Sector
Year
2002
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The British Land Company

The British Land Company Plc, the property investment and development group, acquired by way of recommended cash offers FRP Group Plc, a company which traded as an unquoted residential property investment company.

Corbett Keeling originated this transaction.

GB International

GB International Ltd, a distributor of optical and photographic equipment, was sold to Multivision GmbH, a German distributor of presentation products.

Corbett Keeling advised the owners of GB International, including Yorkshire Fund Managers, whom we had originally introduced to the business four years previously, on their exit strategy, identifying and introducing possible purchasers and leading the negotiations with the trade buyer.

“Corbett Keeling advised the owners of GB International on a phased exit. First, they introduced us to the company and then they helped funds we manage and the original owners' exit, handling a delicate ‘single buyer auction’ to an overseas purchaser with great skill. We are grateful both for the introduction to the investment and for the continuity they provided.”

Phil Cammerman, Executive Chairman, YFM Equity Partners

Service
Sector
Year
2001
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Chivers Communications

Chivers Communications plc, publishers of large print and unabridged audio books and children’s books, quoted on the OFEX market, was subject to a recommended cash offer from BBC Worldwide Ltd, the commercial arm of the BBC.

Corbett Keeling advised Chivers on the recommended offer from the BBC. The offer was subject to the Takeover Code.

 

“Corbett Keeling advised us on a series of transactions, including a de-merger and two investments, leading to the successful disposal of Chivers. The service provided was always to the highest standard, with integrity, commitment and continuity.”

Simon Gibbs, Former Managing Director of Chivers Communications

Service
Sector
Year
2001
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Gieves Group

Gieves Group, the quoted bespoke gentleman’s tailor, demerged its publishing business, Chivers Press Ltd, a publisher of large print and unabridged audio books and children’ s books. The shares of Chivers were admitted to trading on OFEX by way of a placing. Following the demerger, Gieves Group changed its name to Gieves & Hawkes plc.

Corbett Keeling advised Gieves Group on the demerger of Chivers Press, a transaction governed by the Takeover Code and the Rules of the London Stock Exchange.

Apollo Underwriting

Apollo Underwriting Ltd,  an agency that manages a Lloyds of London syndicate specialising in marine insurance, was acquired by Munich Re AG, the German insurer, from Stewart Underwriting Plc, an underwriting agent at Lloyds of London.

Corbett Keeling advised on this transaction.

Service
Sector
Year
1997
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Alwen Hough Johnson

Alwen Hough Johnson, the insurance broker, sold its aviation department to The Sedgwick Group.

Corbett Keeling advised on this transaction.

Service
Sector
Year
1997
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