Chaucer joins Italian management consulting group BIP

14 July 2020 3 min. read
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Italian headquartered international consultancy BIP has completed a major investment in UK digital transformation consultancy Chaucer. Growth Capital Partners, the private equity firm who had been Chaucer’s backer since 2014, was advised on the deal by independent investment banking firm Alantra.

Founded more than 30 years ago by Bob and Chris Laslett, consulting firm Chaucer initially based its operations in providing advisory services to the oil, nuclear and construction industries. A 2014 management buyout (MBO) led by CEO Chris Laslett saw the firm bring external investment into the company to help accelerate growth. During Growth Capital Partners’ (GCP) term supporting Chaucer, the firm recorded five six years of solid organic growth, and commenced a campaign of acquisitions with the purchase of Virtrium Consulting in 2019.

Looking to kick on from this purchase to push into a new phase of growth in 2020, Chaucer began an extensive search for an experienced partner who could support its ambitions. The search ultimately yielded a new partnership with BIP (formerly known as Business Integration Partners), which has been looking to expand its own global footprint. The partnership marks the most significant milestone to date in BIP’s ambitious plan for growth, with revenues now expected to hit £313 million at the end of 2020.

Chaucer joins Italian group Business Integration Partners

Carlo Capé, CEO in charge of international affairs and M&A of BIP, said, “I am delighted to welcome Chaucer into this exciting new partnership with BIP… The natural synergy between Chaucer, our shared motivation for continuous innovation and digital transformation make our partnership a golden opportunity for growth in a rapidly digitising world… As BIP continues to look for new partners among the best in class players in new countries, we are moving towards our goal of becoming one of the world’s leading advisory firms.”

As a result of the deal with Chaucer, 35% of BIP’s revenue is projected to come from international markets, with the UK becoming BIP’s second most valuable global asset after its Italian HQ. The move will expand BIP’s presence in the world’s largest consulting market of the US, where both companies have a long-standing presence in their respective fields andmore than 400 consultants altogether. Chaucer and BIP combined now have 3,300 employees worldwide.

Chris Laslett, CEO of Chaucer, commented, “I am delighted that Chaucer and BIP are joining together. Chaucer people are a talented and diverse international community, and I saw that reflected in the BIP family. This next stage of growth creates huge opportunities for both companies, by significantly increasing abilities to enable our clients to become true digital enterprises. I look forward to collaborating with our new colleagues in this truly exciting partnership.”

The transaction was assisted by a host of professional services firms on both the buy and sell sides. BIP was assisted by law firm Allen & Overy and by EQUITA as financial advisor, while Ludovici, Piccone & Partners and Mischon de Reya assisted BIP for all tax aspects and structuring of the transaction and PwC performed financial, legal and tax due diligence on the target. Chaucer’s shareholders and GCP meanwhile relied on the services of law firm Dickson Minto, Deloitte as tax advisor, and Alantra as financial advisor.

Simon Roberts, Director at Alantra who advised on the deal, remarked, “The deal is significant as we continue to see strong interest in digital transformation consulting services from larger strategic competitors and private equity-backed businesses like BIP. These services are experiencing strong growth in demand, driven by the requirement of traditional industries to remain agile and competitive, the adoption of disruptive technologies and the response to Covid-19. ​Combined with attractive business models… we expect demand for the best consultancies to remain high.”