Clearwater International UK advises IWSR on its MBO

Clearwater International UK has advised leading global drinks information business IWSR on its management buyout, supported by private equity firm FPE Capital LLP (FPE).

IWSR is headquartered in London and has a US office in New York. Over the last 40 years the company has built up the world’s largest database on the alcoholic beverage market, providing its clients with access to category and brand performance in 157 countries across the world using local market input. IWSR produces the most trusted alcoholic beverage analysis and with the industry increasingly moving towards premiumisation of its products, IWSR is the only source that measures this by brand and by price/quality segments.

FPE will work closely with IWSR’s management team which is led by CEO Mark Meek. Mark has over 20 years’ experience in the business information sector, and was formerly CEO of Datamonitor and Progressive Digital Media. As part of the investment a new Chairman, Neil Smith, is joining the business. Neil was formerly Group COO of Wilmington plc and has over 25 years’ experience as a founder, director, advisor and investor in information businesses.

The Clearwater International team was led by Partner Gareth Iley, with support from Director Emma Rodgers, Associate Director Dan Rossington and Associates Dan Shrimpton and Kirsten Handley.

“We are delighted to be backing Mark Meek and his team in the management buyout of IWSR. Mark has driven significant growth at IWSR since becoming CEO four years ago and we look forward to partnering with him and the team for their next phase of growth. We will build on the excellent reputation of the business and its unique market leading data to ensure this remains a leading global supplier to the drinks industry and grows to service the new markets and products in this sector. We are delighted that the founding Smith family will continue to be represented within the business by Alastair Smith who continues in his role as Director, and will have a shareholding in the business.”

David Barbour, Managing Partner, FPE

“We are very pleased to be in partnership with FPE who have shown a great understanding of our business model and enthusiasm to assist us in growing the business. FPE’s significant experience in both media and data sectors will help realise our growth potential.”

Mark Meek, CEO, IWSR

“Mark and the IWSR team have built an excellent business and become a leader in the market providing proprietary data. This investment offers a great opportunity to capitalise on the significant growth in the B2B information market, and we look forward to working with FPE and IWSR as the business continues to grow.”

Gareth Iley, Partner, Clearwater International