Our Corporate Finance team is pleased to announce another transaction in the professional services sector, this time advising Blixt on the acquisition of Academy Insurance Services – a commercial and personal lines broker focused on providing advice-led insurance services to businesses and individuals.  

At the heart of the AIS growth strategy is the continued investment in its team and leveraging of technology to unlock new opportunities for the business and its client base. This will be complemented by acquisitive growth.

The investment will be led by Gilles Normand and Richard Beaven as CEO and COO respectively, bringing decades of experience in the broking market, and with Brendan McCafferty joining as Chairman.

Carl Harring, CEO at Blixt said:

“We are delighted to have completed our investment in AIS. Over several months working closely together, we have been impressed by the quality, track record, and ambition of the business. We really look forward to partnering with the team at AIS and other like-minded firms to help accelerate growth.”      

Niall Chantrill, Associate Partner, said:

“M&A activity within the UK insurance broking market remains buoyant as the sector transitions through profound change with new regulations impacting all firms – this is expected to drive further M&A activity as the sector continues to consolidate.

We are delighted to have supported Blixt and the management team on this exciting transaction and wish the team all the success for the future.

The transaction follows the sale of leading East Midlands Law firm Nelsons to Lawfront and highlights our commitment to supporting business owners operating across the professional services space.”

The CP Deals team has advised the shareholders of Green Power Hire Limited, owner and supplier of market leading battery storage units to the UK rental market.

Green Power Hire is a recognised industry leading sustainable power solutions specialist. They own and supply Battery Storage Units to the UK rental market, mainly to the construction sector. These units, with their market leading digital capability, enable customers to achieve both financial and environmental savings compared to alternative systems.

The business continues to grow rapidly following investment.  For the ten months ended 31 August 2023, it delivered revenues of £5.9m. Speedy Hire Plc, the UK and Ireland’s leading provider of tools, specialist equipment and services, acquired the business in October 2023 for an enterprise value of £20.2m. The acquisition positions Speedy as a market leader in a key growth segment, providing it with unique products and critical mass to meet demand from its customers.

The partnership with Speedy will enable the continuing rapid development of Green Power Hire, leveraging Speedy’s broad customer base, asset rental expertise, data and AI capabilities and investment in expanding the number of Battery Storage Units.  It will also benefit from operational and scale efficiencies as part of the Speedy Group. Mark Chamberlain, Director and one of the founder shareholders of Green Power Hire, joined Speedy at completion as an integral part of the ongoing management team.

Dan Evans, Chief Executive of Speedy Hire Plc, said:

“The acquisition of Green Power Hire is further evidence of our Velocity strategy in action, further strengthening our market leadership in combining product innovation and sustainability and positioning Speedy well in a high growth segment of the market.

 “Alongside investments such as our partnership with Niftylift and our proposed JV with AFC Energy, the acquisition progresses the sustainable and technological evolution of the sectors we operate in, supports our ambitious plan to become a net zero business by 2040 and will deliver long term benefits to our customers, our people and our investors.”

 James Nash, Green Power Hire vendor, said:

“From the start to the finish of this transaction it has been a pleasure to work with the Deals team at Cooper Parry. The whole team have all been invaluable, and I must say it has been a “Team” game, with everyone pulling together whenever required to deliver the final result, and I look forward to bringing the “old team” back together if ever the opportunity arises.”

Tom Summers, Associate Partner, said:

“We were delighted to support the Green Power Hire Shareholders on their successful deal with Speedy Hire Plc.

Green Power Hire’s innovative product offering creates environmental and financial benefits to customers and was a highly attractive proposition for Speedy as they invest in eco products and sustainable power solutions.  

The deal builds on Cooper Parry’s expertise in energy services and the wider circular economy.”

CP ADVISES ANOTHER WASTE AND RECYCLING SECTOR CLIENT – THE UK’S LEADING INDEPENDENT WASTE BROKERAGE ON ITS SALE TO RECONOMY GROUP

 

Our award-winning Corporate Finance dealmakers advised the Shareholders of UK Waste Solutions on their sale to Reconomy, a portfolio company of EMK Capital LLP, marking the team’s second high profile circular economy deal in the last 18 months.

Headquartered in Newark, Nottinghamshire, UK Waste Solutions Limited are sustainability consultants and managers who specialise in supporting clients across the hospitality, distribution, transport, facilities management, manufacturing and construction sectors.

Through its flagship Novati brand, it works with many well-known and highly respected brands, including Marston’s, Prezzo, Roadchef, Network Rail, CBRE and Birmingham Airport. The business has enjoyed significant growth in recent years and now has 3,500 customers.

The acquisition of this fast-growing, profitable business and the foremost independent waste broker in the UK includes all four of UK Waste Solutions Limited’s primary brands (Novati, AMA, Click Waste UK and Evolution) and its 160 employees. It further strengthens Reconomy’s market-leading position in the commercial waste sector as the biggest technology-enabled, outsourced resource management solution in the UK.

UK Waste Solutions Limited’s offering across a broad range of sectors and industries is highly complementary to Reconomy’s existing business, deepening its capabilities and footprint within this vertical to better service new and existing clients.

The transaction follows the acquisition of Denmark-based green-tech business Combineering in February this year. Reconomy Group recorded revenues of over £1 billion through FY 2022 across its 30 offices worldwide and is one of the UK’s largest and fastest-growing businesses operating in the circular economy, waste management and sustainability sectors.

Guy Wakeley, Chief Executive of Reconomy Group, said:

“We are delighted to welcome the UK Waste Solutions Limited team to Reconomy Group. It is a great fit with our business due to our shared commitment to developing closed loop solutions that will accelerate the shift towards a more circular economy. The transaction is consistent with our ambitious plans to grow both organically and through further acquisitions in the UK and around the world.”

Michael Benton, Managing Director of the Recycle Division at Reconomy Group, commented:

“UK Waste Solutions Limited has a track record of delivering an excellent outsourced service and will be a valuable addition to the Recycle Division at Reconomy Group. Its customer-led approach aligns perfectly with our values and deepens our capabilities. It increases our joint offering in the commercial, industrial and construction industry to deliver economic and environmental benefits for businesses, providing an unrivalled, added-value outsourced alternative.”

Max Kanda, Managing Director at UK Waste Solutions Limited, said:

“Reconomy Group’s commitment to innovation in the circular economy and well-established footprint across the UK market will strengthen our combined growth, as we will be able to offer a wider range of services to our joint customer base. We are excited to become part of one of the UK’s largest and fastest growing companies at a critical period for meeting the challenges of resource scarcity through technology- and data-led closed loop solutions as the adoption of the circular economy becomes increasingly central to how we do business globally.”

The Cooper Parry Corporate Finance team was led by Ben Rookes, Tom Summers and Alex Ydlibi. Legal support on the deal was provided by Kuit Steinart Levy LLP.

Tom Summers, Associate Partner, stated:

“UK Waste Solutions is a fantastic local business. The focus on sustainability solutions it shares with Reconomy makes for an exciting partnership and a combined outsourced business service offering that will support the UK’s transition to a circular economy. We are proud to have supported the Shareholder group and Management team through this transaction and wish both them and the business every success going forwards.”

 

We’ve just acquired successful London-based financial planning business, Future Perfect, to become part of the Cooper Parry Wealth family. 

This latest deal comes hot on the heels of our recent acquisitions in the Tech & High Growth space. Firstly, ihorizon – one of the UK’s leading early stage accounting players, and secondly, Acclivity, a boutique advisory firm specialising in accountancy, tax and consultancy to entrepreneurs and high growth early stage businesses.  

All three are high-quality, London-based, specialist firms. And all three deals will feed into our ambitious growth plans, taking our total headcount north of 540. We also became the UK’s largest accountancy B Corp earlier this year. Safe to say, it’s a very exciting time to be at CP.  

Ade Cheatham, Cooper Parry CEO, said: 

“It’s been an incredibly fast start to the year and we’re on a roll. This Future Perfect deal is another sign of Cooper Parry’s 100% commitment to size and scale through the PE-backed acquisition of high calibre firms – who are the right fit – to help drive our ambitious client-first growth.”  

Stephen Jones, Cooper Parry Wealth CEO observes: 

“Right from the first tentative conversations with Future Perfect, we realised there was a genuinely likeminded approach. A proper connection. Both firms share a very similar philosophy. As a result, the client experience should be very smooth from the word go.” 

Sue Royle, co-founder Future Perfect, adds: 

“We were really impressed by the dynamic culture and ambition to be a leading financial planning force in the UK. It’s clear that everything’s in place to deliver an enhanced experience for our clients. I can’t wait for this new chapter to begin.” 

Nick Crowe, co-founder Future Perfect, notes: 

“In recent years, we’ve had a good deal of interest from other businesses. We have always had some key non-negotiables. Cooper Parry Wealth ticked every box – and plenty more. They are well-established, credible and will provide our client base with a perfect new home.” 

Hear from Stephen, Sue and Nick in the deal announcement video below: 

 

 

30 years of successful deal making in corporate finance. That’s quite an achievement. We’re celebrating Andy Parker, one of CP’s leadership team. 30 years of flying the ‘Rebels of Accountancy’ flag.

We got Andy to sit down with Ollie Macildowie and Sachin Parmin two of the new generation of Corporate Finance.  They talked about the past. And of course, his love of rugby and cycling.

Here are some golden nuggets from their conversation. They might tempt you to watch the full video. Just 14 minutes long. Well worth a watch.

What’s changed?

Andy pointed out that one big change he’s seen over the past 30 years in the deal making world is simply how people are. Over are the days of the ‘suited and booted’ uniform. Long gone are the shirt, tie and red braces. The very fact that their conversation takes place sat on settees in casual clothes highlights the change in the office environment.

Technology is another big change. Back when Andy started out there was no internet. We’re talking pre-computer. No excel spreadsheets or google. Research had to be done the old-fashioned way. Physical data rooms filed with box files and print outs of business records. It was all much more time consuming. Analysis and modelling for deals were driven by broader assumptions and didn’t benefit from the data driven (sometimes spurious) accuracy we see today. Interestingly, in Andy’s view the actual timetabling of deals hasn’t changed much. Though people tended to be a little more intuitive on deals, looking for the big picture, because access to information wasn’t as readily available as it is today.

Favourite decade?

Ollie and Sachin were interested to know which decade was Andy’s favourite. The 90s. Work hard. Play hard. Major developments over the past 20 years have made work different – maybe a little less spontaneous.

The Tsunami of change the internet brought at the end of 90s had a significant impact.

A positive difference is that there’s no longer a ‘making it up as you go along’ approach. Deal making and corporate finance has become much more sophisticated. It’s now data and process driven. It relies less on the individual “rain-maker” forcing things through by dint of personality. Though business relationships still matter. People deal with people.

The bursting of the dot.com bubble at the start of this millennium had a big impact on the corporate finance world. More recently since the global financial crisis, low interest rates across the developed world have cause cash to be poured into private equity, with investors seeking better returns. The mergers and acquisition markets have been stimulated in our part of the economy, the mid-market. There are more players in the market with lots of private equity investors competing with strategic buyers and each other.

Even after 30 years in the sector Andy still gets that buzz. Learning new things all the time. Working with entrepreneurs. There might be similar situations but every deal is different.

The constants

Management. Management. Management. It’s fundamental. And it’s here to stay. The fundamentals of what makes a good and attractive business haven’t changed. It’s all about management. The sectors which continue to be attractive are frequently subject to regulatory change and demographic change – which creates opportunity. Healthcare has been a growth market decade after decade: people are living longer needing more care, more medication and devices to help them. Business services (still the dominant part of the UK economy), particularly where tech-enabled, remain attractive for deal-making. Technology, whether hardware, software or services is always in demand across deal markets as it facilitates or drives change in the economy.

A team of all shapes and sizes

It’s no secret that Andy is passionate about sport. He completed the 21 gruelling stages and 3,470km of the Tour de France 2021 a week ahead of the professionals.

Andy believes rugby is the ultimate team sport. Rugby, like dealmaking, is a whole team business.  As Andy says “Teamwork is central. Everyone has got a role. Everyone needs to play their role. If everyone plays to their best, then the team works. Every successful deal needs people to be doing different things to the best of their ability.”

Good rugby teams have great leaders who stand up and lead in times of difficulty and that’s the same for deals.

Know your client

A final piece of advice from Andy. His advice to clients. Be honest with yourself and with us about your real objectives. Everyone needs to be on the same page. There are twists and turns in deals. We need to focus on what is really important to the client. For those starting out in Corporate Finance Andy’s final golden nugget is have integrity. Do what you say you’re going to do. Keep your promise. Don’t go after short term wins. Trust is key.

Here’s to the next 30 years in Corporate Finance for Ollie and Sachin.

With many of our clients experiencing difficulty in accessing funding, we thought we’d share the observations of our CFO, James Parnell.

“I’m hearing and reading similar things that accessing the loans is proving more difficult than everyone hoped for. Privately, I’ve also heard directly from banks that they too are finding it harder than they expected to push loans through the system for their customers (more paperwork and full credit committee still required).

In my view, the best place for people to start is the British Business Bank.

This gives a decent overview of the scheme, who’s eligible with useful fact sheets and so on. It also has links to the 40 accredited banks that are taking part. Clearly, the actual relationship is with the lender and the loan is partially guaranteed by HMG in the event of default by the customer. If there is a default, HMG will guarantee 80% of the lender’s loss after all recoveries – i.e., the banks will ALWAYS lose out on 20% of what they’ve lent if the customer defaults. If a customer has existing borrowing or an overdraft facility, and security is in place already, then even the 20% exposure is proving tricky for some banks. This is why we’re also reading about Personal Guarantees in the press recently.

The other complication is that if a “normal” loan is possible because the business is stronger or has unused security, then the onus is on the bank to lend normally rather than issuing CBILS loans. That naturally will take a bit longer and is likely to annoy customers because then they’re back in for any fees and first 12 months interest (which the Government funds under CBILS)!

So, yes, it’s a fairly muddled landscape. And it’s one that’s changing all the time. Watch this space.”

 

For more information, get in touch with James Parnell.