Equiteq advises Pathway to Your Potential on Mercer Australia alliance

08 January 2018 Consultancy.uk

Mercer Australia has announced a new strategic alliance with talent development programme Pathway to Your Potential (P2YP). The transaction was completed in the final quarter of 2017, with the support of B2B services sector M&A advisory firm Equiteq, who counselled P2YP’s founder on the deal.

Pathway to Your Potential is a leadership, talent and diversity programme aimed at delivering transformational change to clients, by creating and delivering innovative experiences with measurable impacts. In order to do this, P2YP implements a series of interactive workshops – created by the programme’s founder Dr Jess Murphy – to support an organisation's broader talent, leadership and diversity initiatives.

The package is designed to empower diverse talent, particularly capable and competent women and introverts, with the confidence to take action – something that is increasingly important in an age of growing public scrutiny for businesses lacking in diversity. Murphy founded P2YP with an aim to disrupting traditional corporate structures to move them into the 21st Century mindset, and, with the consulting industry increasingly being tapped by clients to deliver HR and digital HR transformation in order to best engage with top talent, the programme has understandably attracted the attention of management consulting firm Mercer.

Equiteq advises Pathway to Your Potential on Mercer Australia alliance

Mercer, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of professional services network Marsh & McLennan Companies, delivers advice and technology-driven solutions that help organisations meet the health, wealth and career needs of a changing workforce. Across the Pacific, organisations look to Mercer for global insights, thought leadership and product innovation to help transform and grow their businesses. As such, Mercer has sought to strengthen its inclusion consulting practice, by way of a strategic alliance with Pathway to Your Potential.

On top of boosting Mercer Australia’s capacity for HR solutions in the Pacific region, the alliance also represents the next stage of P2YP’s international growth and expansion strategy. The talent and diversity development organisation hopes that the synergies for both parties in terms of scale, brand and value will help propel P2YP to a global level.

Garry Adams, Leader of Mercer’s Career Business in the Pacific commented on the agreement, “This partnership will deliver real value to our clients, empowering them to take practical actions towards attracting and retaining diverse talent and building a culture where difference is valued and included.”

The deal was advised on by global consulting firm Equiteq. The M&A experts consulted with Dr Jess Murphy regarding the alliance throughout negotiations.

Commenting on working with Equiteq, Murphy said, “Equiteq were highly experienced in working with consulting firms and switched-on when it came to bringing the best out of P2YP. Their unique approach in articulating and emphasising the power of P2YP’s IP played an important role in successfully securing an alliance with Mercer which backed P2YP’s aspirations and ensured alignment with Mercer’s interests.”

Equiteq Australia Managing Director Pierre Briand added, “We are delighted with the outcome of the alliance. Dr Jess Murphy has built an incredible armoury of intellectual property that will positively serve the modern corporate environment and its future leaders. Mercer is the right partner to help P2YP scale its offerings and accelerate the impact of its services on both the national and global level.”


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8 tips for successfully buying or selling a distressed business

18 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Embarking on the sale of a business is one of the most challenging experiences a management team can undertake. Even serial dealmakers acknowledge that the transaction process can be gruelling, exposing management to a level of scrutiny and challenge through due diligence that can be distinctly uncomfortable.

So, to embark on a sale process when a business is in distress is twice as challenging. While management is urgently trying to keep the business afloat, they are simultaneously required to prepare it for scrutiny by potential acquirers. Tim Wainwright, an experienced Transactions Partner with Eight Advisory, says that this dual requirement means sellers of distressed businesses must focus on presenting their business in a way that supports buyers in identifying value, whilst simultaneously being open about the causes of distress. 

According to Wainwright, sellers of distressed businesses should focus on eight key aspects to ensure they are as well prepared as possible:

  • Cash: In a distressed situation cash truly is king. Accurate forecasting and day-by-day cash balances are often required to ensure any buyer is confident that scarce cash reserves are under proper control. 
  • Equity story and turnaround plan: Any buyer is going to want to understand the proposed turnaround strategy: how is the business going to enact its recovery and what value can be created that means the distressed business is worth saving? Clear presentation of this strategy is essential.
  • The business model: Clear demonstration of how the business model generates cash is required, with analysis that shows how financial performance will respond to key changes – whether these are positive improvements (e.g., increases in revenue) or emerging risks that further damage the business.  Demonstrating the business is resilient enough to cope with these changes can go a long way to assuring investors there is a viable future.
  • Management team: As outlined above, this is a challenging process. The management team are in it together and need to be consistent in presenting the turnaround. Above all, the team needs to be open about the underlying causes that resulted in the distressed situation arising.  A defensive management team who fail to acknowledge root causes of distress are unlikely to resolve the situation.

8 tips for successfully buying or selling a distressed business

  • Financing: More than in any traditional transaction, distressed businesses need to understand the impact on working capital. The distressed situation frequently results in costs rising as credit insurance becomes more difficult to obtain or as customers and suppliers reduce credit. Understanding how these unwind will be important to the potential investors.
  • Employees: Any restructuring programme can be difficult for employees. Maintaining open communications and respecting the need for consultation is the basic requirement. In successful turnarounds, employees are often deeply engaged in designing and developing solutions. Demonstrating a supportive, flexible employee base can often support the sale process.
  • Structuring: Understanding how to structure the business for the proposed acquisition can add significant value. Where possible, asset sales may be preferred, enabling buyers to move forward with limited liabilities. However, impacts on customers, employees and other stakeholders need to be considered.
  • Off balance sheet assets: In the course of selling a distressed business, additional attention is often given to communicating the value of items that may not be fully valued in the financial statements. Brands, intellectual property and historic tax losses are all examples of items that may be of significant value to a purchaser. Highlighting these aspects can make an acquisition more appealing.

“These eight focus areas can help to sell a distressed business and are important in reaching a successful outcome, but it should be noted that it will remain a challenging process,” Wainwright explains. 

With recent studies indicating that the valuation of distressed business is trending north. With increased appetite from buyers who are accustomed to taking on these situations, it is likely that more distressed deals will be seen in the coming months. “Preparing management teams as best as possible for delivering these will be key to ensuring these businesses can pass on to new owners who can hopefully drive the restructuring required to see these succeed,” Wainwright added.