EY appoints Herb Engert as Global Private Equity Leader

02 February 2017 Consultancy.uk

EY has appointed Herb Engert as Global Private Equity Leader, seeing him take charge of the firm's 5,000 advisors across its global network. He is tasked with navigating the firm's clients and offerings through disruptive times in the private equity space.

Herb Engert joined EY in 2002 as its Strategic Growth Markets Leader for the Americas, from Arthur Andersen. Engert was a Partner at the now defunct professional services firm, joining the company in 1989. Previously he spent a year at Wegmans Food Markets where he was an Operations Accounting Manager. At EY, Engert has held a variety of roles across its Transaction Advisory Services, Assurance and Advisory businesses.

Engert holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from St. John Fisher College and is a Certified Public Accountant in the states of MD, VA, NY and the District of Columbia.

EY appoints Herb Engert as Global Private Equity Leader

The appointment sees Engert ascend to the role of Global Private Equity Leader, bringing his more than 25 years of experience in the industry to bear on the task of overseeing more than 5,000 professionals across the firm’s global network. The new role will require Engert to navigate a rapidly transforming landscape for private equity, as disruptive technologies create a host of new innovation and strategic challenges for the firm, and its clients.

Globally the private equity industry has seen years of solid growth, according to a report by Bain & Company, with as a result a relatively strong M&A appetite on the back of strong fundamentals and an abundance of 'dry powder' at corporates and investors.

Commenting on his new role at the accounting and consulting firm, Engert says, “I look forward to maintaining our outstanding client service and further elevating our brand in the marketplace by honing how we can help our clients strategically, as well as navigating an ever-shifting business landscape at a time of unprecedented change.”


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Consumer goods start-ups grow interest from venture capital

23 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Funding the latest consumer goods start-up has been a real money-spinner for venture capitalist firms, with a number of $1 billion companies – or unicorns – having emerged in the space in recent years. New analysis has explored the resulting corporate consumer products activity in the acquisitions space.

Consumer products have enjoyed years of strong growth as new markets opened in developing Asia. China in particular has enjoyed strong growth across a range of consumer good types as the country’s middle class expanded. Private equity firms have been keen to pick up targets in the space as they expand their portfolios to include additional local capacity as well as customers in new markets.

As a result, a study from Bain & Company has found that interest from PE firms in the consumer product space grew sharply in 2018, hitting 6.1% of all invested capital for the year, and making it the third most sought-after category. It is now only behind financial services (23.9%) and advanced manufacturing and services (13.9%).

Corporate venture capital investment

The ‘M&A in Disruption: 2018 in Review’ research found that growth in the segment reflects key changes in the segment as a whole. This is particularly true of insurgent brands, which often leverage local expertise in order to take on international giants in domestic markets.

Short change

The market changes have led to shifts in motivations for consumer goods company investments from PE firms. The number of strategic investments stood at 50% in 2015 compared to deals that increased scope. This has shifted significantly, with 34% of deals focused on strategic outcomes in 2018 compared to 66% for scope. The move towards scope reflects companies seeking out fast-growing products that enable stronger revenue growth streams.

Acceleration in scope-oriented M&A in consumer products

However, there were other motivations for deal activity in the space. Activist investors have put pressure on companies to expand their portfolios in recent years, with the trend expanding from just US targets to Europe.

Further trends

The other key shift in the space regards outbound deal activity. The study found that outbound deal activity has increased significantly in the Americas (up 363%) with total deal volume up only slightly (15%). Key deals included Coca-Cola and Costa, Procter & Gamble and Merck’s consumer health unit, and PepsiCo and SodaStream. In the Asia-Pacific region, outbound deal activity rose 195% while total deal activity fell sharply, by -36%. The EMEA region saw both a sharp decline in outbound deal activity, at -68%, as well as lower overall deal activity, which fell by 32%.

Cross-regional deal making

Deal-making in the current environment is increasingly fraught with uncertainties, as business models change on the back of new technologies, new consumer sentiments and wider market changes from new entrants. As such, acquisitions are increasingly useful as possible hedges on changes in market direction. As such, companies are increasingly pressed to take a future-back position, making sure to incorporate a vision of how the company needs to look in five years into acquisition strategy.

The firm notes that certain acquisitions which enhance a remembrance of a nobler mission, revive a sense of entrepreneurialism and engage directly with consumers may be necessary qualities in acquisitions that transform a company to fit market expectations in the coming decade. While going forward, focus on innovation, partnering with retail winners, reducing cost base and constantly reallocating scare resources will be necessary to protect market share in areas where insurgent local and strategic competitors are active.

Related: Private equity asset growth top priority for 2018.