Catalyst advises ConSol on sale to staffing group Empresaria Group

15 November 2016 Consultancy.uk

Crawley based staffing agency Empresaria has taken a controlling stake in ConSol Partners, an international London headquartered recruitment agency that specialises in the placement of technology talent.

Founded in 1996, in the UK, Empresaria Group has over the past two decades grown into one of the globe’s larger recruitment and headhunting groups, operating with a range of brands in 19 countries.

Empresaria has built its position in the market through organic growth – including the opening of new offices in the UAE last year and in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Santiago, Manchester and Mexico City in 2014 – and a focused ‘buy and build’ strategy. Acquisitions that have contributed in lifting the firm’s revenue base to today’s £187 million, generated by around 800 employees, include that of Pharmaceutical Strategies (US; 2015), BW&P (Dubai; 2015), Ball and Hoolahan (UK; 2015) and Headway (Germany; 2007).

The firm’s most recent purchase, that of ConSol Partners, completed last month, adds significant technology recruitment capabilities to its footprint. ConSol provides permanent and contract technology recruitment solutions to FTSE & Fortune 500 companies, and has since its founding in 2008 grown to a company of approximately 130 staff operating from offices in the City of London, Los Angeles and Boston. The recruiter has a niche focus on the communications & mobile, cloud technologies and the digital supply chain sectors of IT recruitment. 

Empresaria has taken a large stake in ConSol Partners

“We are delighted to announce another investment in a leading brand, in line with our stated strategy, which further strengthens our presence in IT recruitment,” says the Dutchman Joost Kreulen, since 2012 Chief Executive Officer of Empresaria, when he joined the staffing agency from Vedior. Kreulen adds: “The ConSol business is geographically diversified, profitable and cash generative, with a good proportion of temporary/contract business and a track record of strong organic growth. This investment complements our current operations and provides us with an enlarged stake in a market with high growth prospects.”

Marc Cohen and Graeme Hubert, ConSol Partners’ co-founders, say that they are absolutely thrilled with the opportunity to partner with a “respected and well-established leading brand” such as Empresaria. “It’s going to be an exciting couple of years for both Empresaria and ConSol Partners with both businesses looking to fast-track growth”, says Hubert, with Cohen adding “We are looking forward to growing the business and strengthening their IT & technology portfolio.”

As part of the transaction, Empresaria has agreed to purchase 65% of ConSol – a Sunday Times Best Company to Work for the last two consecutive years – for a total cash consideration of approximately £9.4 million. The remaining 35% interest is held by ConSol’s senior management team, in line with Empresaria’s management equity philosophy, says Kreulen. The firms have agreed a minimum holding period for three to four years, before the shareholders can consider offering them to Empresaria.

During the transaction, Cohen and Hubert were supported by Catalyst Corporate Finance, a corporate finance firm with three offices across the UK with a focus on the the mid-market. Commenting on the transaction, Mark Farlow, Catalyst’s lead engagement adviser on the deal team, says, “This is an excellent deal for both parties and demonstrates the appetite from trade buyers for highly specialist recruitment businesses, in particular those that operate in the Technology sector. It has been a pleasure working with the team and we wish them well on the next stage of their journey.”

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