Clearwater International advises Graphite Capital on its acquisition of Opus Talent Solutions

Clearwater International has advised Graphite Capital, a leading UK mid-market private equity specialist, on its acquisition of Opus Talent Solutions, a global recruitment business specialising in the technology and renewable energy markets, in an off-market management buy-out.

Headquartered in Bristol, Opus has more than 1,000 clients in over 50 countries. It employs 300 staff across eight offices spanning the UK, including Bristol, Manchester and London, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Sydney in Australia and New York, Tampa and Dallas in the US.

Opus has three complementary trading brands, all focused on high-growth niche markets, generating a combined net fee income (NFI) of approximately €35m (£30m), including Opus Recruitment Solutions, JD Ross Energy and _nology.

Following significant investment in sales headcount this year, all three Opus brands are forecast to achieve strong revenue growth in 2021. Moves to facilitate cross-selling and drive increased customer penetration have resulted in a near-doubling of revenue from the firm’s top 50 clients since 2019.

Estimates put Opus’s global addressable recruitment market at €46.8bn (£39.5bn) by 2025. The largest proportion of that is in the US, where Opus has a strong position with ambitious expansion plans.

The management buy-out is being led by CEO Amy Golding and chairman James Kelly. Opus founder Darren Ryemill has sold his stake as part of the transaction and the senior management team is reinvesting a substantial portion of their proceeds.