15/02/2019 - News

Clearwater International’s Private Equity team doubles its deal value in 2018

Mid-market advisory firm Clearwater International continues to grow, with 70% of its deals in 2018 having Private Equity (PE) involvement. A total of 75 deals were completed at a value of €9.8bn; 42 on the sell-side, 18 on the buy-side and 15 for M&A and Debt, at almost double the deal value in 2017.

The deals involved over 40 different PE firms with advisers and vendors across 10 countries covering Clearwater’s territories plus Italy, Switzerland and the US.

The team also completed a total of 39 debt advisory transactions across Europe throughout 2018, a 40% increase in deal volume, demonstrating the growing importance of debt advisory in the current market. Of these deals, 29 involved PE funds.

Notable transactions included: the UK team advising leading affordable housing provider Westleigh, a Palatine Private Equity investment, on its sale to housing developer Countryside Properties plc; and the MBO of Partner in Pet Food, one of Europe's leading pet food producers to Cinven, a global private equity investment firm.

Other deals included a joint team from Denmark and Germany advising Danish industrial conglomerate Schouw & Co. on the acquisition of Switzerland-based CCS Group by its portfolio company GPV - creating a major European electronics group; and the landmark cross-border sale of specialist utilities services provider KN Group to Circet, an Advent portolio company, advised by the Irish team.

The Spanish, Portuguese and UK teams worked together on advising Portugal-based gym group Fitness Hut, on its sale to Spain-based gym group Viva Gym, backed by private equity firm Bridges Fund Management to create the leading low-cost fitness group in the Iberian region with a combined revenue of over €50m.

The Clearwater team’s PE roadshows in the US have enabled them to strengthen their relationships with North American PE funds, to facilitate introductions for their portfolio companies to European acquisition opportunities and to provide in depth sector knowledge in the consumer, industrials and business services sectors. In China, the firm has also expanded its network with PE firms and corporates through regular industrials and automotive roadshows.

Clearwater continues to release quarterly updates to its Multiples Heatmap research, in association with Unquote. This bespoke analysis of the multiples being paid by PE for businesses across Europe has led to the Clearwater team increasingly supporting PE on their investment decisions. Look out for the upcoming Multiples Heatmap Review for more in-depth data analysis.

In 2019, the firm are continuing to see high levels of PE activity in all regions and anticipate increased activity levels from North American PE funds and their portfolio companies. Deployment of capital remains a priority for PE funds in 2019.

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