Highlights

The UK has historically been the most active PE market in Europe, accounting for nearly 30% of all deals announced in our six key regions over the last five years.

However, there has been a clear slowdown in the UK’s its share of European deal volumes in recent years, and an even more prominent decline in its share of deal values. This is certainly a consequence of the current political instability surrounding Brexit negotiations and the ever-increasing threat of a no-deal scenario.

Funds are turning their attention towards other European markets that are deemed more stable. Alternatively, we see funds devoting capital to smaller UK deals in order to limit their exposure to such uncertainty. That being said, UK deal volumes this quarter are largely in line with previous years, suggesting that positive momentum still remains for mid-market PE investment into the UK.

Some of the key transactions that took place during the period include:

Consumer, Leisure & Retail

  • Lion Capital acquired Crafts Group, the holding company through which its subsidiaries provide embroidery floss, craft fabrics, needlework materials, knitwear and knitting yarns, from BlueGem Capital Partners, for an estimated minimum consideration of €120M
  • Clayton, Dubilier & Rice acquired Westbury Street Holdings, the operator of restaurants and provider of catering and hospitality services, for an estimated consideration of £780M
  • ECI Partners acquired The Travel Chapter, the online marketing platform for holiday lettings, from Phoenix Equity Partners, for an undisclosed consideration

Healthcare

  • GHO Capital Partners acquired Sterling Pharma Solutions, the manufacturer and developer of drugs, from Tenshi Life Sciences, for an undisclosed consideration
  • CBPE Capital acquired Simbec-Orion, the clinical research organisation, from Arix Bioscience, for an undisclosed consideration
  • TriSpan acquired Sk:n, the skincare specialist offering a range of non-surgical and cosmetic treatments, from Graphite Capital, for an undisclosed consideration
  • Impilo acquired The Fertility Partnership, the provider of fertility services, ultrasound pregnancy scans and hormone treatments in the UK and Poland, from White Cloud Capital, for an undisclosed consideration

Industrials

  • TowerBrook Capital Partners acquired GBA Group, the provider of end-to-end vehicle logistics services to the global automotive and shipping industries, for an undisclosed consideration

Services

  • Ardian acquired Study Group, the provider of international education, from Providence Equity Partners, for an undisclosed consideration
  • Sofina acquired Cognita Schools, the owner and operator of private schools, from Jacobs Holding, for an undisclosed consideration
  • Inflexion Private Equity Partners acquired Creative Car Park, the provider of car park management solutions, from Rockpool Investments, for an undisclosed consideration (DC Advisory advised on this transaction >)
  • Sovereign Capital Partners acquired Utility Bidder, the energy broker offering energy procurement services to UK SME customers, for an undisclosed consideration

TMT

  • Apse Capital acquired Kallidus, the human capital management and e-learning software as a service (SaaS) provider, from FPE Capital, for an undisclosed consideration
  • Bowmark Capital acquired Pirum Systems, the provider of post-trade market infrastructure technology for the global securities finance industry, from Five Arrows Principal Investments, for an undisclosed consideration
  • Astorg Partners acquired Acturis, the supplier of insurance software, from Summit Partners, for an undisclosed consideration
  • Livingbridge acquired FluidOne, the data connectivity aggregator, from Rigby Group, for an undisclosed consideration
  • Bowmark Capital acquired Tax Systems, the listed designer and developer of corporate tax software solutions, for an estimated consideration of £116M
  • Inflexion Private Equity Partners acquired Times Higher Education, the education journals publisher, from TPG Capital, for a consideration of £80M
  • CBPE Capital acquired Ideal Networks, the provider of network cabling & devices, from Ideal Industries, for an undisclosed consideration

Deals by geography and quarter