Alantra expands London presence through £30 million Catalyst merger

13 October 2017

Professional services firm Alantra has combined with Catalyst Corporate Finance. The transaction, valued at over £30 million, remains subject to approval from an Alantra Shareholder Meeting and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Catalyst Corporate Finance, which has offices in Birmingham and Nottingham, is set to rebrand following a transition period, having announced its merging with Alantra, a global investment banking and asset management firm listed in Spain. The £30 million move comes at a time of increased international consolidation among mid-market advisors, as competition heats up in this segment thanks to new innovative market disruptors leveraging technology to challenge established companies.

It also follows a trend towards independent advisors gaining increased presence in global M&A, especially in large transactions – something also shown by the recent launch of boutique M&A consultancy Sunfish. According to Mergermarket’s ranking of the top 20 global M&A advisors, the number of transactions advised on by independent advisors has doubled in the last five years.

On the back of Catalyst’s rebranding, the move will see its partners join Alantra’s global M&A advisory business, while taking a shareholding in the listed group along with the firms directors. Alantra will hope to increase its footprint in London via the deal, benefitting from the global reach of Europe’s financial capital. Through the combination, Catalyst will draw on Alantra's team of 400 professionals based around the globe, delivering a full range of services to UK clients, including M&A, Debt and Equity Capital Markets capability.
Catalyst’s Managing Partner, Andy Currie, said, "In combining with Alantra, our goal is to build one of the world’s leading mid-market advisory firms and we look forward to capitalising on this momentum as we drive forward the UK arm of the group… As a result of the merger, we will be in the best possible position to meet the increasingly international needs of our clients, providing them with access to deep sector specialism, a global partnership and a broad, integrated product offering.”

Santiago Eguidazu, Executive Chairman at Alantra, added, "The UK is the most important M&A market in Europe and, as such, for a number of years we have had the strategic target to strengthen our M&A and debt presence in the country."

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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.”