Irish telco Blueface acquired by Comcast, Apple supplier Qorvo acquires Decawave, Limerick-based AMCS acquires US rival, Magnet Networks sells UK division to Quintain and much more in this week's Renatus M&A Newsletter.
Renatus Weekly M&A & Company Performance Newsletter 02/02/2020
You are receiving this mail every week as we see you as a key partner and we look forward to continuing to enjoy our journey with you over the decades ahead.
Please find below this week’s newsletter covering the latest M&A, company performance, fundraisings and executive moves.
Irish telco Blueface acquired by Comcast
Deal Details: Irish cloud-based telecommunications provider Blueface has been acquired by Comcast for an undisclosed sum. Comcast is an American corporate giant that owns media networks Sky & NBC.
The deal unwinds Blueface’s tie-up with US-based fellow cloud telecoms company Star2Star, with which it merged two years ago to create StarBlue.
Blueface will continue to operate its Blueface brand under Comcast’s ownership, selling internet-powered telecoms services to business customers internationally.
Irish company filings for Blueface suggest that at the time of the merger with Star2Star two years ago, it was valued at about $9.1m (€8.2m). Blueface’s stake in StarBlue was also carried at a value of €7.58m on its balance sheet.
Advisers: None mentioned
Renatus Comment: This acquisition appears like a huge success for Alan Foy and the Blueface team. The Ireland-based tech provider and UCaaS specialist has come a long way since it was founded in 2004 and, alongside its Dublin office, now has offices in New York, Philadelphia, Rome, Madrid, and London with an extensive partner network. This deal should allow Blueface to scale its operations significantly over the coming years.
Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) refers to a service model where providers deliver different telecom or communications software applications or services, generally over the global IP network.
Source: Irish Times
Apple supplier Qorvo acquires Decawave
Deal Details: Decawave, an Irish chipmaker has been acquired by Apple supplier Qorvo in a deal estimated to be worth about $400m (€363m). Decawave staff are set to share in a $60m payout for their share in the business.
Dublin-headquartered Decawave was founded in 2007 by Ciarán Connell and Michael McLaughlin. It provides ultra-wideband wireless technology through a low-power chip that can identify the specific location of any object indoors to within a few centimetres.
North Carolina company Qorvo makes radio-frequency semiconductor components, that derives about a third of its annual revenue from Apple.
Decawave has previously raised over $50m (€45.2m) in funding with backers including the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), Dublin-based VC fund Atlantic Bridge Ventures, Irish VC firm Act Venture Capital, Enterprise Ireland and the $100m China Ireland Growth Technology Fund.
The company announced 100 new jobs two years ago after a $30m (€27m) fundraise led by Atlantic Bridge.
The last publicly available accounts for Decawave show losses rose to $10.9m (€9.86m) in 2018 from $5.9m (€5.33m) a year earlier as turnover slipped to $9.12m (€8.25m) from $10.6m (€9.58m).
Advisers: None mentioned.
Renatus Comment: Ultra-wideband (UWB) technology isn’t a necessarily new technology, despite the sudden interest from smartphone makers, including Apple which included it in its latest iPhone 11 – likely one of the key rationales for the acquisition given Qorvo’s strong ties to Apple. To-date, the technology has mainly been deployed in industrial settings to track forklifts, pallets, etc. around factories and warehouses. Up until recently, the relatively high price of the chip has made it less appealing for smartphone makers to build them into their devices. However, UWB’s potential in smart home, security and augmented reality applications coupled with likely cost reductions as factory economics benefit from higher volumes will likely lead to wider adoption of this chip in the future.
Source: Qorvo Press Release
Kitman Labs acquires the Sports Office
Deal Details: Irish sports tech company Kitman Labs has acquired The Sports Office, the pioneer in athlete data management, for an undisclosed sum.
Kitman Labs, founded in 2012 in Dublin, is a leader in performance intelligence solutions for elite sports teams. The company has offices in Silicon Valley, Dublin, and Sydney.
The Sports Office, based in the UK, supplies a range of high-profile organizations across the globe. These include clubs in the English Premier League and Italy’s Serie A. They also support teams in the NHL, NBA, and MLB; as well as elite organizations and federations in professional rugby, cycling, tennis and equestrian sports.
The combined company creates one of the strongest data science and development capacities in the industry and forms the largest dataset from an advanced network of elite sports leagues, governing bodies, and professional and development clubs across the globe.
Advisers: None mentioned.
Renatus Comment: This acquisition follows on from CEO Stephen Smith’s comments that Kitman Labs plan’s to double the size of the business after raising c. $5.1m (€4.62m) last November. The company has grown significantly since its inception in 2012 and its latest raise in November brings the total funding to date up to $20m.
Founders Stephen Smith and Iarfhlaith Kelly are the largest shareholders in the business, with other investors including US-based VC Blue Run Ventures, US banker Pete Kight and Irish rugby playrs Jamie Heaslip and Kevin McLoughlin.
Source: Kitman Labs Press Release
BIL acquires significant controlling interest in PE Global
Deal Details: BIL has acquired a “significant controlling interest” in leading healthcare and technical recruitment specialists, PE Global. The financial consideration of the deal was not disclosed.
BIL (Bakhchysarai (Ireland) Limited) was set up to facilitate the management buyout of Brightwater Recruitment Group in September 2018. Its capital partners are Duke Royalty and Bank of Ireland.
PE Global is an award-winning recruitment agency founded in 2005 by Michael O’Brien and is led by newly appointed MD Keith McDonagh. It currently employs around 60 people in its offices in Dublin, Cork and London.
Advisers: PE Global: Corporate Finance: Raymond Donegan and Ailbhe Doyle at IBI Corporate Finance. Legal: Ray Shanahan and John Fuller at JW O’Donovan, Solicitors Tax: PwC, Cork
BIL: Corporate Finance: FinRes, John Hannon and John Lacy. Legal: Ronan Daly Jermyn, Bryan McCarthy, Sarah Slevin and Maeve Lowry. Financial: KMPG, Mark Collins and Damien O’Reilly. Commercial: Aidan McGettigan. Tax: Grant Thornton, Sasha Kerins, Robert Murphy and Jayne Peacocke.
Bank of Ireland provided the debt and was advised by Gordon Judge.
Duke Royalty provided the equity and was advised by Colm Kearney, Kearney Solicitors and Charles Russell Speechlys
Renatus Comment BIL, the recruitment acquisition vehicle set up by John Hannon and John Lacy, has completed its second acquisition with PE Global. This follows on from the acquisition of Brightwater through an MBO in Sep-2018. BIL’s strategy, of its acquired recruitment companies running independently within the group, will enable continued further acquisitions and its aim to become a major force in the Irish recruitment market while also preserving the unique capabilities of its group companies.
Source: BIL Press Release
Magnet Networks sells UK division to Quintain
Deal Details: Magnet Networks has sold its majority share in Velocity1, its UK division which was set up to deliver connectivity to London’s 85-acre Wembley Park smart city initiative, one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe. Magnet’s partners in Velocity1, Quintain, has purchased the shares from Magnet.
Deal terms have not been disclosed.
Advisers: None mentioned.
Renatus Comment: Magnet Networks is owned by Columbia Ventures Corporation, US private equity firm run by American Ken Peterson. The company to date has invested over €120 million in creating one of the most advanced telecoms network in the country
The company has said that that the sale of its share in Velocity1 will allow Magnet Networks to focus on the expansion of its smart real estate technology in Ireland and servicing its global connectivity clients.
Source: The Sunday Independent
Limerick-based AMCS acquires US rival
Deal Details: Limerick-based AMCS, a fast-growing supplier of software to the waste sector, has bought one of its main rivals in North America, Trux Route Management Systems, which is based in Ontario, Canada.
The deal will boost its business in the US to more than 1,000 customers, bringing the US to represent over 40% of the AMCS business, according to founder Jimmy Martin.
Deal terms were not disclosed, however, founder Martin is reported to say that AMCS has revenues of over €100m and is cashflow positive.
Renatus Comment: AMCS is a regular guest in this deal review section and its success is a fantastic case study in the positive impact supportive growth capital can have in a business. While founder Jimmy Martin monetised some of his success in the early days, he also brought in private equity investment in the form of Insight Venture Partners and Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), which has given him the capital support to pursue an acquisition-fuelled growth strategy that would not have been otherwise possible.
Source: The Sunday Times
Dublin-based Inbhear acquired by Sanne Group
Deal Details: Fund administration and services company Inbhear has been acquired by Jersey-based Sanne Group. Inbhear is owned by Gavin Gray and Michael Purtell, who took control of the business through a management buyout in 2013.
The deal is reported to be valued at just over €14m, with c. €6.6m to be paid upfront and c. €7.7m to be over the next three years if certain financial targets are hit.
Sanne Group is one of the largest administration companies in the world and already has offices in Dublin. The deal will reportedly boost its presence in Ireland and give it a foothold in the Cayman Islands, where Inbhear has had a presence since 2016.
Advisers: None mentioned.
Renatus Comment: Ireland is home to some of the world’s largest administration companies and has thousands of people employed in the industry. From this, indigenous companies have grown and there has been some decent recent investment activity in the space, with MML’s acquisition of DMS governance and today’s reported deal of growth equity raised by Centaur Fund Services.
Source: The Business Post
Deals in the Making
Takeda is looking for a buyer for its Dunboyne operations
Deal Details: Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda has confirmed it is looking for a buyer for its operations in Dunboyne, Co Meath.
The company stated: “As a result of Takeda’s acquisition of Shire last year, and subsequent integration, Takeda has decided to divest its biologics facility in Dunboyne.”
The plant was the last major investment made by Shire before it was acquired by Takeda for €56bn last year. The company invested €375m in setting up a new biologics manufacturing plant on its 120-acre site in Dunboyne. At the time, the company said it planned to employ 400 people when the facility was fully up and running. However, it appears that employment numbers never topped 200 at the manufacturing facility.
EXECUTIVE AND BOARD APPOINTMENTS
We in Renatus believe that more important than the deals are the people and we have teamed up with leaders in this field Korn Ferry to provide you with details of key recent executive and board level appointments.
GSLS appoints new CEO Cash-in-transit business, GSLS, has appointed Fiacra Nagle as CEO. Mr Nagle is the former Managing Director at Compass Group UK&I. He previously served as CEO at O’Brien’s Irish Sandwich Bars. He is a graduate of UCD and has worked across a number of industries in a career spanning 30 years.
HealthBeacon appoints CEO for North America Irish medical technology business, HealthBeacon, has appointed Laura Hamilton as CEO of North America. Ms Hamilton is from Cork and has resided in the US for 20 years. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in the US and previously worked in senior executive positions at MassBio and Rxcelerate.
Carson McDowell appoints new insurance partner Carson McDowell has announced the promotion of Catherine Carton to partner in the firm’s defence insurance team. Ms Carton, who qualified in 1999, specialises in the defence of employer’s liability and public liability claims, with a particular interest in claims arising in the retail, engineering and maritime industries. She is a graduate of Dundee University. She previously worked at McCloskey’s Solicitors in Belfast prior to joining Carson McDowell in 2015.
Shoosmiths appoints new real estate partner UK firm Shoosmiths has announced the appointment of real estate lawyer Mark Blair as a partner in the firm’s Belfast office. Mr Blair is well-known in the Northern Ireland property market and his appointment is viewed as key hire in broadening the firm’s skill base and profile in the region. He is a former partner at A&L Goodbody in Belfast and previously worked as an Associate at Wragge & Co. He is a graduate of Newcastle University.
OSM Partners appoints new senior property associate OSM Partners has announced the promotion of Mary-Louise O’Hagan to senior associate in the firm’s property team. Ms O’Hagan, who joined the firm in 2017, has several years’ experience in advising vendors, purchasers, receivers and companies in various property law issues, including residential and commercial conveyancing transactions. She is a graduate of UCD and TUD and completed her training at Andrew Crean-Lynch Solicitors in Dublin.
EBITDA is an accounting term and is often the best indicator of profitability in non-capital-intensive businesses before financing and tax are considered. In capital-intensive businesses EBIT or EBITDA less average Capital Expenditure are often better measures. YoY is an acronym for the year-on-year movement in turnover, EBITDA, etc.
Based in Cork, Murnane and O’Shea Limited was founded in 1958 by both Bob Murnane and Denis O’Shea, and is now one of Ireland’s leading property developers and building contractors. In FY19, the company had a steady year which saw revenue increase by 6.0% to c. €30.7m while EBITDA increased by 10.2% to c. €1.6m. The company employed an average of 44 employees during the year at a cost of c. €2.6m. Cash increased by c. €1.1m after working capital movements freed up c. €1.5m in cash while the company also made a c. €1.0m interest payment and c. €162k tax payment. The company spent c. €290k on CapEx requirements and also paid off c. €415k of loans leaving cash on the balance sheet at c. €4.2m. Net assets stood at c. €3.2m, up from c. €2.9m the previous year. The company is owned by Patrick Murnane (99.01%) and Brian Murnane (0.99%).
Noone Transport Limited‘s trucks are a sight familiar to many on Irish roads. The family run business has been in operation since 1986, specialising in haulage services for a range of industries. The Meath-based company today have 105 trucks and trailers transporting goods throughtout Europe. In their most recent financial year to March 2019, the business saw revenue increase by 5.0% to c. €10.7m while EBITDA increased by 13.9% to c. €2.5m. EBITDA translated to a c. €646k increase in cash after c. €981k was spent on finance lease liabilities and €275k on a range of new fixed assets. Noone Transport had net assets of c. €5.9m at year end and is currently owned by Noone family members Daniel, Simon, Kevin and Matthew.
DPS Engineering and Construction Limited, trading as DPS, is a global consulting, engineering and construction management company. DPS have delivered projects in numerous industries, including biotechnology, pharmaceutical, oil and gas, food & beverage, amongst others. FY18 was a strong year for the company which saw revenue and EBITDA grow by c. 53% and 34%, to c. €167m and €3.0m, respectively. Relative EBITDA underperformance looks to be the result of a c. two percentage point deterioration in gross margins. Headcount at DPS increased by 54 during the year to 340 total employees at an annual cost of c. €24.5m. There was a c. €1.2m capex spend during the year, €1.05m of which went into office equipment and the remained into fixtures and fittings. At the period end, there was c. €2.8m of cash on the balance sheet against a debt balance of c. €9.8m, €8.8m of which was due within the next 12 months. DPS is owned by its Directors and senior management team which includes CEO Eddie Kent and CFO Frank Keogh. The shareholders shared a dividend of €1.1m during the year, down from c. €1.4m a year earlier.
Who:Mash Direct, Northern Ireland vegetable side-dish company, has secured funding.
What: £10m (€11.9m) comes from HSBC UK.
Why: Cash boost will go towards becoming more environmentally friendly. New solar and wind energy machinery will be installed along with a new wastewater treatment facility. Also the company will increase its operations and hire 12 more staff. Mash Direct will also add new production lines, so it can produce new dishes and increase capacity, and invest in robotics and enterprise management software.
Who: Coleraine-headquartered IT specialist Covernet has received investment.
What: The company has invested £500K (€595K) and US global private equity firm Capital Z Partners Management LLC will support the company in its growth plans.
Why: The investment will be used for upgrading its IT infrastructure.
Who: Football Association Ireland (FAI) has received a rescue package from the Government.
What: €19.2m package is comprised of higher grant levels and an interest-free loan. The government’s commitment under the rescue plan consists of a doubling of the FAI’s Sport Ireland grant, from to €5.8m, for the next four years. A repayable grant worth a total of €7.63m will be paid to the company which owns the Aviva stadium – which the FAI is part owner of – over the next three years.
Paddy Dillon of Grant Thornton provided financial advice to FAI.
Why: The funding package will secure the immediate future of the beleagured association, which has been in turmoil for almost a year since revelations about its former chief executive John Delaney first emerged.
Who: Cool Planet Group, an energy services business run by entrepreneur Norman Crowley. The Cool Planet Group includes energy efficiency company Crowley Carbon and electric vehicle business Electrifi.
What: The company has raised €31m in new funding from French investment group Tickehau Capital and SystemQ Incubation, a London group promoting sustainable business. The new investors will take up a “significant minority stake” reported to be less than 30%. Cool Planet Group’s existing shareholders include Norman Crowley, New Look founder Tom Singh and George Polk, former climate change adviser to George Soror and McKinsey, along with members of the management team.
Why: Crowley has confirmed that he is not taking cash out of the business after the investment and new funding will be primarily used to expand Crowley Carbon
Source: The Sunday Times
Who: Elgin Energy, an international solar developer.
What: The company has completed its fourth fundraise, with £4.7m most recently secured from Irish investors. Cantor Fitzgerald Ireland led the fundraise with legal advice from Eoghan Doyle and Hugo Grattirola of Philip Lee Solicitors, Dublin. Advisors to Elgin Energy was Gordon McElroy of MKB Law, Belfast.
Why: The funding will be used to provide capital to complete late stage development of 250 megawatts (MW) of UK solar projects.
Source: Elgin Energy press release
Who: Centaur Fund Services, co-founded in 2009 by Ronan Daly, Karen Malone and Eric Bertrand, is a leader in fund administration and regulatory services for the alternative investment fund industry.
What: Centaur Fund Services announced it has received a significant growth equity investment from FTV Capital, a sector-focused growth equity investment firm. Key Capital acted as exclusive financial advisor and NME Law provided legal counsel to Centaur Fund Services.
Why: The capital will position the company for continued expansion into new geographies and further investment into talent, product development and technology.
Source:FTV Capital Press Release
Thought for the Week
With the UK now officially out of the EU, negotiations of the UK’s trade deal with the bloc will take centre stage.
The real work on the UK’s new relationship with the EU is just beginning and the next 12 months will have long lasting effects on both sides. Let’s hope now that now Brexit is done, sensible heads can get to a trade deal that works for all of us.
5.8% & 4.6%
The year-on-year increase in the Irish retail sales volume and value, respectively, for December 2019, according to @CSOIreland
1.2% & 5%
The year-on-year increase in the mortgage drawdowns volume and value, respectively, for Q4 2019, amounting to 12,259 drawdowns worth a combined €2.768bn, according to Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) @thejournal_ie
The year-on-year increase in the total number of trips to Ireland by overseas visitors for 2019 amounting to 10,807,500 people, according to @CSOIreland
The value of investments by venture capital firms to Irish SMEs since 2003 contributing to creation or support of up to 100K jobs, according to @IndoBusiness
5.7% The year-on-year decrease in the volume of goods handled by the seven main Irish ports for Q3 2019 amounting to 12.4m tonnes, according to @CSOIreland
The estimated year-on-year increase in the Irish construction output for 2019 amounting to €23bn, meanwhile the construction workforce expanded by 4% to 150,000 workers, according to Mitchell McDermott Construction Consultants. @irishexaminer
4% The year-on-year rise in passenger numbers through Dublin Airport for 2019 amounting to 32.9m passengers, according to Dublin Airport. @irishexaminer
Renatus was established in 2014 by Mark Flood and Brendan Traynor to provide growth funding to growing Irish SMEs and to partner with ambitious management teams to help companies reach their full potential.
Renatus targets companies with sustainable earnings of €1m+ and valuations of €5m and above. Our typical solutions include: