OC&C Strategy Consultants closes seven transactions in private equity

19 December 2017 Consultancy.uk 9 min. read

With a track record of over 340 successful transactions in private equity over the last five years, OC&C Strategy Consultants has further added to its profile as one of Europe’s largest strategy consulting firms to investors, having recently helped to close seven transactions. The consultancy, which has fourteen offices globally, advises private equity houses in buy and sell-side roles, providing strategy, commercial and vendor due diligence due diligence for transactions and refinancing, and portfolio optimisation services.

The latest deals that were added in recent months to the testimonials roster of the firm’s M&A arm include four buy-side and three sell-side operations. OC&C advised Visma on their divestment of Cinven, as well as the sale of Noonan’s shareholdings to Bidvest, and of the OASIS Group’s similar shareholding sale. The consultancy further consulted on both a sale and purchase by Mid Europa Partners Group, along providing buy-side services to TCV and Partners Group.

Visma management | HgCapital

OC&C was at the heart of a transaction that saw the Visma management team and its shareholders KKR and Cinven successfully sell their shareholdings to lead investor, HgCapital. London-headquartered private equity (PE) firm Hg was founded in 2000, and over the past five years has raised more than $7.5 billion in assets, taking its total to more than $10 billion, making it a top 50 private equity firm globally, a top 10 firm in Europe and the largest software investor in Europe. The transaction, which saw Visma rated at an enterprise value of $5.3 billion, is one of the largest ever software transactions in Europe.

Visma is a leading provider of mission critical accounting, resource planning and payroll software to small and medium-sized enterprises as well as the public sector in the Nordic region.The company is transitioning its products and customers towards Software as a Service (“SaaS”), and it now has one of the largest SaaS businesses in Europe. As a firm rooted in the software sector, serving both corporates and investors in the industry, OC&C worked closely with Visma and its shareholders over a number of years, and supported them during this process by providing commercial vendor due diligence.

OC&C Strategy Consultants closes seven transactions in private equity

Noonan | Bidvest Group

The consulting firm was also heavily involved in the sale of Noonan’s shareholdings to Bidvest Group, in a €175 million deal, working with the sellers on strategy and vendor due diligence. Noonan is a leading provider of facility management and workplace services across the UK and Ireland, delivering technical, security, cleaning, environmental and ancillary services across a range of sectors, employing more than 13,000 people. This acquisition provided South African-headquartered Bidvest with a unique opportunity and platform to establish a strong presence in the Irish and UK market.

Noonan CEO John O’Donoghue said, “We really enjoyed working with OC&C” and added the he looks forward to continue the firm’s collaboration with the strategic consultancy, sating “We will continue to get great value from their work as we plan the next phase in the Noonan story.”

OASIS Group | Montagu Private Equity

OC&C assisted Housatonic and Svericato with selling off its stake in the Offsite Archive Storage and Integrated Services (OASIS) Group to Montagu Private Equity. Investor Montagu Private Equity is a European private equity firm with headquarters in London. Since its formation in 1968, the group has over the last four decades invested in over 400 businesses.

Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Dublin, OASIS Group is one of the largest and most diverse professional records and information management (RIM) companies in Europe, operating in 30 locations across six countries, managing vital information for over 5,000 clients. The deal marks the culmination of a successful partnership between Housatonic and Sverica in the building of a European RIM, during which the company executed over twenty bolt-on acquisitions, increasing revenue approximately four times during Housatonic’s and Sverica’s eight-year investment period.

“OC&C was a great help and support throughout the process, and their vendor due diligence really helped us achieve the best investment to deliver on our ambitious growth strategy,” commented Brian Connolly, CEO of OASIS Group, on OC&C’s role in the deal.

Deals advised by OC&C

Zabka Polska | CVC Capital Partners

Completing the round-up of their latest sell-side activity, OC&C Strategy Consultants assisted Mid-Europa Partners in the sale of Zabka Polska to funds advised by CVC Capital Partners. Zabka is the leading modern convenience retailer in Poland with a network of 4,500 outlets. During Mid Europa's ownership of Zabka, the pace of organic store roll-out was increased to over 500 new openings per annum, the size of the network doubled, revenues tripled and EBITDA almost quadrupled. Key initiatives included strengthening Zabka’s relationship with its franchisees and launching a customer-centric commercial strategy aimed at satisfying changing customer needs. OC&C provided commercial vendor due diligence to support this transaction.

Partners Group | Civica Group

On the buy-side, meanwhile, OC&C provided Partners Group with commercial due diligence to a deal that saw the company acquire Civica Group, a market leader in business-critical software, digital solutions and outsourcing services. The purchase sees Partners Group attempt to strengthen its digital solutions offerings on behalf of its clients, in one of the largest UK software transactions of the decade. The large price-tag saw former owners OMERS Private Equity earn back 2.6 times as much money as it had sunk into the purchase of the software services company, recouping the £390 million it spent in 2013 with the total sale bill reportedly standing at $1.72 billion.

Civica is a leading provider to the public sector and commercial organisations in highly regulated sectors, and is well known for one example as a major provider of software for the UK police force. The company has a strong track record of growth, driven by their strategy to improve service delivery and efficiency through a combination of software applications, digital solutions and technology-based services.

Mid Europa Partners | Hortex Group

Having worked on the sell-side for Mid Europa Partners, OC&C was also involved in the buy-side advisory services required to complete a deal for the same client. The leading buyout investor, which focuses chiefly on the growth markets of Central and South Eastern Europe, acquired the Hortex Group, with OC&C providing the private equity group with commercial due diligence on the transaction.

Hortex is an iconic brand in Poland, as well as being known well in Russia, with a strong brand recognition. The company operates in two markets: frozen fruit and vegetables, and juice and drinks, holding a leading position in both markets. The transaction, which will conclude for an undisclosed fee, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2018 and is subject to approval from competition authorities.

Quote Tom Gladstone

TCV | Pracuj Group

Finally, OC&C advised on a smaller deal, managed by their Polish office, which saw TCV – a leading provider of capital to growth-stage private and public companies in the technology industry – make a minority investment in the Pracuj Group (Grupa Pracuj).

Grupa Pracuj is a leading provider of human resources solutions in Central Europe, which comprises of four companies: Pracuj.pl, a job board; applicant tracking system eRecruiter; Rabota.ua, a Ukrainian job board; and emplo.com, a platform to support communication and HR processes in companies. OC&C provided TCV with commercial due diligence on this transaction.

Commenting on the acquisitions advised on, Tom Gladstone, Leader of OC&C’s Private Equity arm, said: “Our Private Equity practice continues to grow in strength and depth which has resulted in our best year yet. In 2017 we have supported a record number of completed deals for successful bidders or vendors across an expanding set of territories, bringing the total number of successful transactions supported over the past five years to over 340."

He added that in a globalising and growingly complex environment, private equity clients are increasingly seeking deep sector and topic knowledge from their advisers. “Delivering global expertise seamlessly across borders has been critical in both helping our clients be successful and expanding the footprint of our practice.”

Earlier this year, OC&C also advised on several other acquisitions, including the purchase of TOM Vehicle Rental by Equistone, the sale of Parkdean Resorts to Canadian Onex for £1.35 billion, and the sale of ESG to Socotec.