A deal a week for Clearwater as M&A activity bounces back


  • Clearwater completes a deal a week as M&A top the corporate agenda
  • 80 per cent of trade sales went to cross border buyers
  • Private equity sees revival in activity
  • Support services, chemicals and consumer were the most active sectors for the firm

Mergers and acquisitions are back on the corporate agenda, according to dealmakers at Clearwater Corporate Finance (“Clearwater”). The announcement comes as the firm reports a landmark final quarter to its financial year after completing 13 deals in 12 weeks.

Phil Burns, managing partner at Clearwater said: “At a time of low GDP growth, corporates are looking to expand revenues and market share through acquisition opportunities. However, the revival in M&A activity is great news for the financial and professional community, but also indicates that confidence is gradually returning to the wider economy.”

In the financial year ending 31 March 2011, Clearwater advised on 31 deals with a total value of just over €1 billion and an average deal size €32 million, helping 37 entrepreneurs realise at least £1 million of value from a transaction during the year. Phil added: “The increase in Entrepreneurs Relief in the last two budgets has led to an increase in exits for entrepreneurs who have been put off by correspondingly high income taxes.”

Clearwater also saw a boost to the number of corporate clients advised during the year with international groups, including DCC, Macintosh and Imtech, turning to the firm for advice during the year. “Activity has been boosted by the record number of corporates looking beyond their own geographical boundaries to make acquisitions. 80 per cent of the trade sales that we advised on in 2010/2011 went to cross border buyers.”

“The private equity market played a key role in the resurgence in deal activity over the past 12 months. 17 different private equity houses were involved in our transactions, which shows there is real strength and depth in the industry, but also that they are back and hungry to make acquisitions.”

Key deals for the firm over the period included; the €188 million pan European management buyout of pet food manufacturer, Provimi Pet Food; the £100 million fundraising for start up house building company, London Square; the £25.5 million buyout of Asperity Employee Benefits  by Inflexion Private Equity; the £5 million equity investment in Dwell by Key Capital Partners; the secondary buyout of XLN by ECI Partners; ECI Partners’ investment in Fourth Hospitality; the sale of Zenith Vehicle Contracts  to Morgan Stanley Private Equity; and the £45 million sale of Teaching Personnel.

75 per cent of transactions were originated in house by Clearwater’s respected research and origination function, which has a team of analysts that support the firm’s sector expertise. Of the 31 deals in the last financial year, the support services sector was the most active with 10 transactions followed by the chemicals and consumer sectors with five deals each.