Moving your deals forward, despite uncertain times
Moving your deals forward, despite uncertain times
Recent events have shaken the foundations of every business and it may seem like M&A deals are the last thing on anyone's mind.
With the UK now in a recession, completing your transactions promptly will become even more critical for businesses to drive growth and make it through the uncertain changes in the industry.
By listening to your needs and focusing on your priorities, our deals and business consulting team have kept transactions moving through lockdown, and we are happy to report our success since March.
With a combined value of £1.5 billion
For our business consulting team
Number completed since March
Our 2020 successes
Our deals team works in a variety of sectors with all manner of clients, and we are proud to contribute to their success:
A Class 1 disposal and £95 million equity fundraising for Ted Baker, which was facing difficult trading conditions.
The transaction has allowed the business to recapitalise through a combination of raising cash to repay debt, as well as providing funds to support the transformation strategy and to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
Our team challenged and stress-tested the management plan to deal with forecasting uncertainties.
We expect the recent changes to the ethical standard to lead to more opportunities, as boards look beyond their auditors for non-audit services.
Ted Baker CFO David Wolffe commented: “The team helped us to achieve a project of the highest importance at a very challenging time for us. With many competing high priority demands on the executive management and the finance team, Grant Thornton produced high quality outputs, including a comprehensive and insightful working capital report.”
In a public market that has seen just thirteen IPOs in London this year – with three completing before March – our public company advisory team successfully advised on the AIM admission and £16 million fundraising for Trident Royalties plc.
Doing so in such a challenging climate provides a demonstration of our firm’s ability to offer market-leading regulatory, commercial and sector-specific advice to companies looking to London’s capital markets to facilitate their growth strategy, while allowing us to maintain our ranking as the number one nominated adviser by AIM admissions since 2018.
“We are very pleased to have made the transition from an LSE Standard listing to AIM, done in conjunction with our successful fundraise. Grant Thornton played a significant role in this success by providing support and guiding us through the process such that we met our objectives within our target timeframe. We look forward to growing as a company on AIM with the continued support of Grant Thornton as our Nominated Adviser.”
Adam Davidson, CEO, Trident Royalties plc
GTS Flexible Materials
A fantastic example of a multi-disciplinary solution and a competitive process focused on specific buyers to maintain competitive tension. GTS is at the forefront of the global industrial adhesives industry and has extensive manufacturing expertise from its 50 years of operation, providing innovative adhesive solutions for fast-changing markets.
Despite the impact of the lockdown, our commercial due diligence demonstrated the strength of the market opportunity available to GTS in the electric vehicle market and concluded that any impact should only be temporary.
We supported management and Growth Capital Partners in building a strong working relationship. This helped to maintain transaction momentum and will provide strong foundations for a prosperous future in partnership.
Chris Burgess, Managing Director at GTS Flexible Materials Group commented: “The investment is a key milestone in the development of GTS, and we look forward to a long term partnership with GCP. Grant Thornton provided excellent support and advice throughout the process of identifying a potential partner and in driving the deal to a successful conclusion”
More of our successes
Aker Systems' acquisition of LDC was a challenging deal, given the early-stage nature of the business and the coronavirus lockdown.
However, we were able to complete the deal for this fast-growing technology start-up, which offers highly secure migrations into the public cloud for government departments and corporates looking to manage and share large, complex and classified data sets.
Our strong experience in balancing the thorough evaluation of private equity firms with the dynamic style of entrepreneurial teams enabled us to keep the deal on track.
RJD Partners acquisition of Improve secures the future of this innovative business, delivering training to veterinary practitioners via an online solution. We provided due diligence, tax due diligence, SPA advisory and tax structuring.
Our dedicated transactions tax team provided structuring advice on Inflexion’s £150-million acquisition of Rosemont Pharmaceuticals and H2’s acquisition of RAM Tracking.
Our transactions tax team was appointed as fund-level advisors to a number of private equity clients which will give us access to further transactions these firms pursue in future.
Mole Valley Farmers
We provided debt-advisory services on the £50-million fundraising for Mole Valley Farmers Limited, funded by PNC Business Credit.
Mole Valley is a farming cooperative serving farmers and their local communities via production of animal feed and through their retail country stores.
Given the nature of ownership the focus was on delivering value to its members, ensuring customers benefit from the best possible pricing whilst leaving enough funds in the business for future investment.
Elogbooks is acloud-based FM software supported by integrated helpdesk and end-to-end building monitoring solutions.
Our teams advised on the £12 million sale of Elogbooks to Marlowe plc and also supported Marlowe with due diligence. The team’s extensive technology-led business services sector knowledge and relationship with Marlowe were critical in designing the best solution for our client through the pandemic.
Opportunities for M&A
While private equity buyers are proceeding cautiously, and the bar remains high, there is appetite to deploy capital and invest across the cycle from many funds, particularly for bolt-on opportunities for existing platform investments.
Notwithstanding the practical challenges of completing due diligence across borders, international trade acquirers remain active and interested in UK assets.
UK corporates are increasingly focusing on what is core to their future plans. We believe non-core disposal programs are likely to come to the fore in 2021.
Meanwhile, public markets are also showing signs of life with ten IPOs completed since lockdown, while capital markets continue to be tapped for secondary equity both to shore up balance sheets and provide ammunition for acquisitions.
Debt market appetite is starting to recover with a focus on quality and recurring revenues.However, challenges exist in evaluating underlying earnings which is providing a brake on multiple leverage, but liquidity is there for the right opportunities.
High street banks are primarily focusing on existing clients and selectively looking at new business, but challenger banks and alternative lenders are very much open for new business.
The most resilient sectors for M&A activity have been:
Also, while government support has pushed back liquidity issues to Q4 2020 and beyond, we are experiencing a rise in accelerated M&A and restructuring opportunities; particularly in sectors that have suffered during the pandemic - travel and leisure, retail, aviation, events and commercial real estate.
Contact our deals team for more information and to find out how we can support your business