Growth in deals activity for advisory firm

Michael Reeves

Global mid-market advisory firm Clearwater International, which has offices in Birmingham and Nottingham, has reported completed 119 deals in 2020 – 5% increase on the previous 12 months.

Clearwater International ended 2020 in 13th place on the Mergermarket European Financial Advisors league table, up from 15th.

The firm says it work with the private equity community has “continued to evolve”, with 57% of its deals having private equity involvement in 2020. A total of 68 deals were completed at a value of €3.9bn involving 55 different funds across Europe, an increase of €1bn in deal value in comparison to the previous year.

Clearwater completed transactions across the spectrum of sectors with standout increases within business services, consumer and TMT, whilst healthcare and industrials and chemicals continued their strong run of deal completions.

Business services completions increased by 69% in 2020 when compared to 2019, an increase of €1bn in deal value across both M&A and debt advisory transactions. Key transactions included advising LDC on backing the recent merger of Lomond Capital and Linley & Simpson in a €109.3m (£100m) transaction, as well as advising the UK’s leading provider of outsourced resource management and environmental services, Reconomy Group, on the acquisition of Munich-based Reverse Logistics GmbH.

In TMT, the team completing over 40% more deals in the sector throughout 2020 across both M&A and debt advisory service lines. Standout deals for the team included advising Advanced on its acquisition of Mitrefinch, a global provider of workforce management solutions, as well as advising SaaS digital customer experience provider, SessionCam on its sale to Glassbox Digital, a provider of digital experience analytics for web and mobile applications.

The healthcare sector was another active area for Clearwater with the business completing deals worth €1.1bn. Key deals included advising Parquest Capital and the shareholders of 5 Santé, a major French player in post‐acute care private clinics on the group’s disposal to Korian. The debt advisory team also advised Day Lewis Plc, a community pharmacy and distribution business, on a refinancing deal which provides a €138m (£125m) revolving credit facility.

Industrials and chemicals experienced another bumper year, completing transactions worth €2.5bn, 70% of which completed after lockdowns were announced showcasing the value of strong industrials businesses within the marketplace. Key deals included advising Spanish private equity firm, Portobello Capital, on the acquisition of Poligof, a leading manufacturer of backsheets for hygiene and sanitary products in Europe, from 21 Invest as well advising WJ is the UK’s leading supplier of award-winning road markings and specialist highway products and services on its strategic partnership with THI Investments, and advising R&D Group A/S on its sale of four Danish and two international subsidiaries to Nasdaq listed MTS Systems Corporation.

Clearwater completed double the number of consumer deals in 2020 in comparison to 2019 totalling €953m in deal value. Most recently, the firm advised leading Scandinavian wall art business Poster Store on its sale to Desenio, a deal completed by the Swedish team who joined Clearwater in 2020.

Michael Reeves, CEO of Clearwater International, said: “2020 was an unprecedented year full of potential challenges but in true entrepreneurial spirit, the teams across the globe remained agile and committed to client objectives. This has resulted in another year of growth for Clearwater International. We have continued to grow our international footprint with a strategic partnership with KeyBanc Capital Markets and the integration of Valentum in Sweden, which have already shown their value to the business.

“As we head into 2021 with dealmaking steadily making its way back to normal, I am confident of another successful year for the business.”

Click here for a comprehensive list of West Midlands deals >