Value enhancement plan helps market intelligence consultancy, GIA, to improve its EBITDA margin, and secure a sale to M-Brain Oy

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GIA, a market intelligence consultancy, supported by the Equiteq growth programme, increased its equity value by more than 250% in a 12 month period. Equiteq built a long-term relationship with GIA which ultimately culminated in it being appointed as lead M&A advisor, on its sale to M-Brain Oy. 

The client’s situation

GIA is a world leader in customised market intelligence, serving companies whose decision-makers need a solid market understanding in order to grow and compete internationally.

GIA had achieved good revenue growth and geographical expansion across the world; however the profitability trend had been more erratic which had affected their attractiveness to potential acquirers in the past. 

This process started a year ago with a consulting project during which Equiteq helped our management team to identify the value growth levers for our business. Looking back, the decisions we made at that time proved to be highly valuable and we were able to boost our profit growth significantly. This had a major impact on the way we presented the company in discussions with prospective acquirers and ensured we achieved a successful outcome for all shareholders.

Markko Vaarnas CEO and co-founder

Our approach

Equiteq ran intensive value-enhancement workshops in London and Helsinki to calculate the current valuation of GIA and then design an action plan to improve that valuation.

We formulated a plan which would increase the valuation of GIA by more than 100% which involved identifying unnecessary overheads and removing non-value-adding expenditure and encouraging each senior member of the team to commit to improved sales over the next 12 months. Once the improvement plan was underway we commenced our preparation for sale.

How did this deliver value to the client?

During the process GIA improved its EBITDA margin to greater than 15% and we were able to demonstrate to potential acquirers that these profit improvements were permanent, resulting in a much stronger valuation proposition.

We ran a comprehensive global marketing process which included approximately 80 buyers, obtaining significant interest in the business with more than 30% signing NDAs and taking the IM. In a competitive process the final sale price achieved was significantly above the target valuation.

GIA recognised our efforts in the sale and the performance improvement as critical to achieving the result. All shareholders including the PE house were delighted at the result. 

 

Read the press release on this deal here.

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