Delivering a premium sale for property consultancy GL Hearn

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GL Hearn (GLH), a market-leading UK property consultancy approached Equiteq as part of its annual strategy development process to provide an assessment of the M&A market. Through Equiteq’s Valuation and Market Risk Assessment (VMRA) methodology, the board of GLH gained good insight into the strategic sale potential of the business, prompting their decision to take it to market. Based on our deep consulting transaction experience, Equiteq was appointed as lead advisor for the sale. GLH was sold to Capita for £30m in 2015, a valuation which substantially exceeded shareholder expectations.

The client’s situation

GLH approached Equiteq as part of its annual strategy review to provide an assessment of the M&A market and in particular the outlook for GLH in a strategic sale scenario. Equiteq utilised its proprietary Valuation and Market Risk Assessment (VMRA) tool to provide a thorough and deep analysis, which the Board of GLH incorporated into its decision making process. Ultimately, when the Board decided to take the business to market, Equiteq was appointed as the lead advisor.

We appointed Equiteq to assist us with the sale of GL Hearn after being convinced of their specialist expertise in the consulting M&A market. The Equiteq process delivered a number of offers for the business at levels which were beyond our initial expectations and also with structures which were very advantageous to us as sellers. Looking back our decision to appoint was the right one, their assistance and knowledge in both the market and the sale process was critical in shaping the initial offers into the deal we completed with Capita. We are delighted with the overall outcome and would recommend Equiteq to any consulting firm owner who wants to sell their business.

Brian Sloggett Managing Director

Our approach

Following the initial workshop, Equiteq set to work preparing high quality sales documentation and undertaking research into potential strategic advisors, drawing on our deep knowledge of the buyer universe and key value drivers for these buyers.

Equiteq spent significant time identifying and shortlisting the most likely buyers, and approaching the shortlisted companies as a priority. This enabled the process to remain focused and efficient whilst maintaining confidentiality. The ultimate result was a number of credible offers for the business which Equiteq negotiated and improved before the shareholders selected their preferred party.

During the due diligence phase the focus was on quick execution and maintaining value, both of which we were able to achieve though strong project management and supply of quality information to the buyer.

How did Equiteq deliver value to the client?

It was clear that GLH had been well positioned for growth in certain areas of the property consultancy market, with management having made a number of strategic investments during previous years in this regard.

These investments were presented carefully, alongside the opportunity they created for a potential buyer, adjusting the historic performance of the business to show the strong underlying growth trend.

There was significant interest generated in GLH from the buyer community, soliciting a number of well-structured and valuable offers from credible international buyers. This allowed GLH to make an informed and positive choice about which partner to consummate a transaction with.

Ultimately Equiteq achieved a premium valuation in excess of the GLH shareholders’ expectations and a final sale value of £30m.


Read the press release on this deal here.

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