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Livingbridge appoints Raymond James to sell FluidOne – sources

FluidOne’s private equity owner Livingbridge has hired Raymond James to manage the sale of the UK-based cloud solutions provider, three sources familiar with the situation told Mergermarket.

London-based FluidOne is expected to be marketed off GBP 15m – GBP 16m EBITDA, two of the sources said with one adding that it was likely these numbers would reflect the expected 2024 earnings. The process is expected to kick-off towards the end of 2023, they said.

FluidOne’s turnover jumped 24% in the year ending in March 2022 to GBP 41.7m, while its underlying EBITDA fell by GBP 0.8m to GBP 4.1m during the same period due to an increase in administration costs, according to financial filings.

Its exit run rate in March 2022 was GBP 57m revenue and GBP 7m underlying EBITDA, the filings show.

The company clocks GBP 68m in revenues, according to a June 2022 report from this news service.

Livingbridge acquired FluidOne, which provides services including connectivity, cyber security, IT managed services, mobile, and Internet of Things, from Rigby Group in February 2019. 

Since then, the company has made at least four acquisitions. Most recently, it purchased domestic IT infrastructure supply business Highlander Computing Solutions in February.

FluidOne, which has 310 staff and serves more than 1,350 customers and resellers, seeks bolt-on acquisitions to build out its Connected Cloud Capabilities, according to the Mergermarket report. The company prioritises targets generating GBP 1m-GBP 30m in revenues and aims to complete two deals per year, the report continues. 

The company was founded in 2006 as Fluidata and rebranded to FluidOne in 2016 following its acquisition by the Rigby Group, its website shows

FluidOne has an LTE score of 54 out of 100 according to Mergermarket’s Likely-to-Exit model. The model tracks the likelihood of sponsors to exit a portfolio company with the days held and the days since FluidOne’s last bolt-on being the leading contributors to the score. It is the fourth highest exit score for a Livingbridge asset as tracked by the model.

Livingbridge and Raymond James declined to comment. FluidOne did not respond to a request for comment.

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PE roll-up strategies face regulatory heat with focus on consumer industries – analysis

  • Large, sector-focused portfolios in the spotlight

  • CMA flagged as active regulator on roll-ups

  • Funds need to assess collective impact of serial acquisitions


Multiple sector acquisitions by private equity (PE) funds – or ‘roll-up’ strategies – are increasingly drawing the attention of competition authorities, with a spotlight on large portfolios in consumer-facing industries, lawyers have told this news service.

Amid a slowdown in PE platform deals due to the debt crunch, General Partners (GPs) have turned their attention to existing portfolio companies focusing on roll-up strategies, as reported by Mergermarket. At the same time, top competition officials have been making statements about roll-up deals being an enforcement priority.

Roll-up strategies have been raising eyebrows at competition agencies, particularly in those industries dominated by funds that own controlling stakes in multiple companies, said Clemens York and Michael Okkonen, both partners at Dechert. With longer holding periods anticipated due to delayed sponsor exits amid the financing drought, some PE portfolios have become so large – with an increasing sector-specific focus – that they are attracting greater attention from the regulators, York said. As dealmaking picks up again, roll-ups will be scrutinised more carefully and more often in heavily consolidated industries, Okkonen said.

Recent examples come from the UK, where the head of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Sarah Cardell, recently flagged roll-up deals as an enforcement priority, particularly where they impact consumers.

The CMA has conducted merger reviews of several roll-up deals in the past few years where remedies – in the form of divestments – have been required in order to secure approvals, noted Patrick Harrison, partner at Sidley Austin. The CMA has typically been focused on roll-ups involving goods and services, especially where local markets are involved, said Thomas McGrath, partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. In cases involving local markets, for example dental care, there may be concentration in smaller catchment areas like individual towns, whilst market shares at a national level remain modest, he noted.

The CMA is currently reviewing Core Equity Holdings: Portman Healthcare / Dentex, in which the CMA found that the merger will substantially lessen competition in certain local areas within the NHS and private dental treatments.

Several CMA cases have led to Phase 1 divestments, typically those that provide goods and services to consumers, Harrison said, including CD&R/Morrisons (2022), CapVest Partners: Riviera Bidco / Dental Partners Group (2022); BDT Capital Partners LLC: Culligan / Waterlogic (2022); and TDR Capital LLP: Bellis Acquisition Company 3 / Asda Group (2021).

Veterinary services are among sectors that have received CMA scrutiny, as reported. Last year CVS’s acquisition of Quality Pet Care (also known as The Vet) was one example. CVS sold the business following the investigation. BC Partners-backed VetPartners‘ acquisition of Goddard Veterinary Group in March 2022 resulted in Phase 1 divestment remedies and the CMA noted that larger corporate groups buying smaller independent businesses resulted in anti-competitive situations. The CMA is also investigating whether seventeen completed acquisitions by CVC Capital Partners-backed Medivet Group of independent veterinary businesses could lessen competition.

Going forward, GPs will need to assess plans for serial acquisitions more strategically from the outset, McGrath said. “It is important to analyse the collective impact of serial acquisitions rather than only assess the risk profile of each individual deal on a standalone basis. Regulators are no longer thinking about every bolt-on independently, but the aggregate effect of them on the market as a whole,” he said.

“The CMA can and does use its share of supply test extremely flexibly to review deals that may be of substantive interest”, said McGrath. The UK agency is “very well-positioned to look at any and all deals,” compared to other regulators, he said.

According to McGrath, similar cases will be brought by authorities in EU member states. Regulatory obstacles for PE firms are increasing overall, said York, who flagged that in addition to merger control, GPs also need to consider the Foreign Subsidies Regulation and Foreign direct investment (FDI) screening in the EU.

Camille Paulhac, partner at Paul Hastings, noted that clients increasingly seek M&A advice early in the deal process to determine if competition law will be an issue. The increased scrutiny from regulators may further delay PE exits, as bids that have an attractive offer but raise competition concerns that put closing in jeopardy, may be seen less favourably by the sellers than a lower bid with more certainty on closing, York said. Where a deal raises substantive issues, GPs often look for contractual protection to make sure that the deal does go through and that they are sufficiently compensated if one of the regulators does not see any viable remedy to its competition concerns, other than blocking the deal, he noted.

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Raytheon collects initial bids in actuation divest process

Raytheon Technologies [NYSE:RTX] recently collected initial bids in the sale of its actuation business, three sources familiar with the matter told Mergermarket.

This news service reported in February that Raytheon is working with financial advisor Goldman Sachs on the sale of its actuation business.

The actuation business, which makes flight controls, is being marketed at around USD 150m in EBITDA, the three sources said. France-based aerospace company SAFRAN [EPA:SAF] is among the parties showing interest in Raytheon’s actuation business, two of the sources said.

There is also interest from private equity firms, two of the sources said. It was not known if Veritas Capital, which was named in the previous report as a potential acquirer, remains interested in the actuation business.

This news service reported last June that the Arlington, Virginia-based aerospace and defense company was expected to look at further divests from its Collins Aerospace business, with the actuation and landing gear businesses named as potential divest candidates. Bloomberg Law reported in January that Raytheon was considering a sale of its actuation business and was working with an undisclosed advisor.

Raytheon Technologies consists of four segments: Collins Aerospace Systems, Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon Intelligence & Space and Raytheon Missiles & Defense.

United Technologies and Raytheon completed their USD 74bn merger in 2020 to form Raytheon Technologies. United Technologies had acquired Rockwell Collins for USD 30bn in 2018. Once that deal was completed, Collins Aerospace was formed through the combination of UTC Aerospace Systems and Rockwell Collins.

Raytheon has a market capitalization of around USD 146bn.

Raytheon, Goldman Sachs, SAFRAN and Veritas Capital declined to comment.

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