Redwood Capital and LD&A Jupiter merger forms Drake Star Partners

03 October 2016

Investment banking and corporate finance firms Redwood Capital and LD&A Jupiter are merging to form Drake Star Partners. The new financial advisory player will have a team of over 60 M&A advisers across nine offices in North America, Europe and Asia. 

Founded in 2003, Redwood Capital is an investment banking firm that provides mergers & acquisition, corporate finance, restructuring and valuation advisory services to clients in the technology, media and communications sectors. The company has since its inception grown into a team of around 30 advisers, based in offices in New York, Los Angeles and Geneva. The firm, in addition, has a private equity co-investment partnership which invests between $25 and $150 million of capital per transaction in private equity, buyout and mezzanine opportunities, in the most cases alongside established lead investors. 

LD&A Jupiter boasts a similar profile to that of Redwood Capital. The firm, established in 2004, provides a range of corporate finance services, and also focuses mainly on clients in the technology, media, telecom and internet space. 

The merger of the two firms into a combined company, branded Drake Star Partners, builds, according to Gregory Bedrosian, co-CEO of the consultancy, on three main drivers. Firstly, the geographical footprints of Redwood Capital and LD&A Jupiter are highly complementary to one another – Redwood Capital has a strong heritage in North America, while LD&A Jupiter has a strong foothold in the European market, with hubs in London, Munich, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris.

Drake Star

By joining forces, Bedrosian highlights that the merged entity will be better positioned to serve clients with their international M&A ambitions, an aspect which, on the back of growing internalisation and consolidation, is gaining an increasingly important share of the M&A market. Since launching, over 70% of the 120 transactions LD&A Jupiter advised on were cross border, with a similar percentage applying for Redwood Capital’s 150+ deals supported in the same period. Going forward, the co-CEO says that the cross border share is set to rise further, with Drake Star Partners offering more capabilities to deliver. “We are now even better positioned to drive international M&A and investment trends, and offer clients our expansive international reach and scale, along with the best possible level of service backed by execution knowledge on a global level.” 

The third main benefit is, according to Marc JR Deschamps, the firm’s other co-CEO, based in London, the enlarged expertise around major technological trends that are unfolding globally. “From digitalisation, Industry 4.0, cloud services and analytics, to augmented reality, FinTech, HealthTech, cybersecurity or AdTech, all industries are affected by these trends. With offices in seven countries, we now offer our clients one international team of technology, media and communication experts, delivering deep industry transactional knowledge.” 

From a merger & acquisition perspective, Drake Star Partners finds itself in a sweet spot. Although the M&A market is slightly down on last year’s record-breaking year, found a BCG report released earlier this month, the deal fundamentals remain strong. Investors are still keen on inorganic expansion opportunities, money remains cheap, and the private equity industry appetite remains strong as a result of the high stocks of ‘dry powder’ which are being held globally. Yet when it comes to differences between industries, tech driven deals are outperforming the rest, both in the megadeal and largecap segments, as well as in the midcap and smallcap space. A recent study from KPMG paints a similar picture in the startup scene – last year around two thirds of venture capital flows went to startups in the technology, online and telecom sectors. 

Drake Star Partners track record

“Many global, life-changing technology trends are leading to a continuous strong M&A and investment momentum”, says Deschamps.

Looking ahead, the Bedrosian and Deschamps say that Drake Star Partners, which is owned by its Managing Partners and investors, aims at maintaining the strong momentum Redwood Capital and LD&A Jupiter both enjoyed. To date 24 transactions have been completed this year with a transaction value of over $1 billion, which, according to the co-CEOs, represents a “heightened year-on-year momentum”.

One of the deals LD&A Jupiter advised on this year was the sale of XXImo, a Netherlands-based FinTech startup, to French giant Sodexo.


SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

19 April 2019

UK consulting firm SQW Group has completed its first acquisition since it completed a management buyout in January 2019. BBP Regeneration joins the company having collaborated with SQW for more than 20 years.

Established in 1983, SQW Group now operates all over the world. Comprising SQW, Oxford Innovation, Oxford Innovation Services – one of the UK’s leading innovation centre operators – and Oxford Investment Opportunities Network, the organisation’s origins can be traced to Britain’s two ancient university cities: Oxford, through Oxford Trust founders, Martin and Audrey Wood, and Cambridge, through SQW’s work in producing The Cambridge Phenomenon.

The consultancy specialises in public policy, working with entities from the public, private and voluntary sectors to research, develop, implement and evaluate social and economic development interventions. It now employs over 250 people across regional offices in London, Oxford and Edinburgh, and provides business support to over 4,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses each year. At the start of 2019, SQW secured its independence in a management buyout, advised on by M&A experts from Liberty Corporate Finance and Penningtons Manches.

SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

SQW has strengthened its position as a provider of services across the business spectrum with the acquisition of BBP Regeneration. Founded in 1994, the consulting firm specialises in land and property-based regeneration and growth schemes, and is a leading social and economic development consultancy. 

The two firms first worked together over 20 years ago, when SQW and BBP collaborated to develop the first Regional Economic Strategy for the South East. More recently, they developed an economic strategy for Thanet and are now working together in locations stretching from Cwmbran via Oxfordshire to London.

With the addition of BBP, SQW can now provide an integrated advisory service for organisations developing property schemes which deliver economic benefit to their local area. By joining SQW, meanwhile, BBP hopes to further enhance its ability to support clients in delivering property and place-making ambitions. 

Speaking about the deal, SQW CEO David Crichton-Miller commented, “The UK more than ever needs solutions to the challenges of places – of high streets under threat, of meeting housing delivery targets, and of both economically over-successful and economically challenged towns and cities – and the combination of SQW and BBP is uniquely suited to developing those solutions. [This deal] brings together critical and complementary services relating to places to serve our clients with leading edge and practical advice.”

Andy Smith, Director of BBP Regeneration, added, “SQW shares with BBP the same values of seeking to provide outstanding, practical, real world advice that helps get buildings built and places developed.  We greatly look forward to the opportunities that come from joining our two organisations together.”