Clearwater International advises GatenbySanderson on MBO


Clearwater International has advised recruitment agency GatenbySanderson on its management buyout, backed by private equity house Primary Capital.

GatenbySanderson provides permanent and interim executives across public services and the not-for-profit sector. The business has a particular expertise in headhunting chief executives, senior management teams and non-executive board members within markets that frequently undergo change.

Primary Capital has previous experience in the support services sector, acquiring security recruitment business Pegasus Security and achieving a 5x return on its investment in 2006. Primary Capital’s latest acquisition will help GatenbySanderson achieve the next stage in development by adding an experienced board member and providing long-term shareholder value.

A team at Clearwater International, comprising of partner Marcus Archer, associate Natasha Price and analyst Mark Maunsell, advised the shareholders of GatenbySanderson.

This is the fourth recruitment sector transaction that Clearwater International has advised on in 2014, having led the sale of Sugarman Group to Cordant in February and been involved in the sale of Vision for Education to TES Global in June. Most recently, the firm advised on the sale of Denmark-based Q-Star Energy to private equity house Venture Partners in November.

Marcus Archer, head of Business Services at Clearwater International, said: “Primary Capital’s investment in GatenbySanderson will allow the experienced management team the opportunity to explore new growth channels. With Primary’s expertise in this market, the company will provide the perfect home for GatenbySanderson and we expect them to have continued success. Recruitment in the UK is undergoing a boom. With 69% of firms in 2014 reporting an increase in net fee income, recruitment has never been more attractive for private equity investment.”

Graham Goodwin, Chairman at GatenbySanderson, commented: “Clearwater International’s extensive knowledge and experience of the recruitment sector made them the ideal adviser for guiding us through this MBO. The team’s commitment and care in delivering the deal enabled complex transactional issues to be resolved with minimal disruption to management. We were thoroughly impressed with their work and wouldn’t hesitate to work with them again.”