The ability to share sector-specific insight across borders is a key differentiator for Equistone. Meilleurtaux and a recent international bolt-on for Small World provide two illustrative instances from the financial services sector.
// When the French team were assessing Meilleurtaux, one of their first ports-of-call was the UK financial services team, which has unrivalled experience in insurance services.
“I called the UK team and said ‘we’ve found this wonderful but unusual French financial services retail business. Can we discuss?’ The value of fast and candid access to that kind of highly informed cross-jurisdictional insight cannot be overstated.” – Guillaume Jacqueau
// When the UK team was carrying out a French bolt-on for Small World, the French team connected them with the right local advisers and provided a local perspective.
“Our colleagues in Paris immediately made us locals. This de-risked the process and Small World’s management team were delighted we could add this capability.” – Andrew Backen
By sharing expertise across borders, we can radically accelerate our learning curve in attractive or emerging industry areas. A recent example of this is our growing portfolio of telecoms investments.
// Equistone has developed significant experience in European telecoms. A recent string of investments in the sector started with Camusat in France, then WHP in UK, and then Amadys in Belgium. Each instance involved collaboration and deep knowledge-sharing between deal teams and our investment committee.
“Amadys’ latest add-on was based in the same village as WHP. The conversation between the two management teams is an example of the natural, organic value creation that can be applied by an international investor that is focused on value and growth.” – Andi Tomkinson
A vivid example of just how powerful this access to international insights can be is in our latest edition of Platform (Issue 07, pages 12-15), where we cover how the CEO of German marketing services portfolio company PIA flew to Birmingham to help the ITG deal team during their assessment of the opportunity.
“Equistone’s local presence and international collaboration allow us to develop sector insights that competitors in our size range, be they country funds or sector specialists, have a hard time replicating.” – Paul Harper
This multi-sector cross-region experience can also highlight interesting discrepancies and opportunities.
// When a German temporary staffing business, TUJA, was brought to investment committee, the UK members, following several underwhelming domestic experiences in the sector, expressed well-informed caution, but also an openness to understanding differentiations of the German market. This made for a very insightful discussion, concluding in unanimous support for the investment. The deal became one of the firm’s most successful, delivering an IRR of 241%.
The temporary staffing sector is one with rapidly shifting dynamics and regional differences, and for many years after TUJA we decided to stay on the sidelines. Our international perspective allowed us to analyse and decline many opportunities, with the benefit of hindsight largely good decisions. However, it also helped us to recognise the qualities of a business in the adjacent engineering and consulting sector, the Paris-based Vulcain.
“Doing one deal in France, Germany and the UK can be more valuable than having done three in one market. We will have a different type of experience, and that can be more additive.” – Grégoire Châtillon