Fri, 05 Jan 2024 | MBO/MBI
Land Survey Solutions, an engineering surveying and monitoring services provider, has been acquired in a private equity-backed management buyout (MBO). The deal sees PE firm WestBridge take a majority stake in the company, with the buyout led by Land Survey Solutions CEO David Lowe, along with the company’s senior management team.
WestBridge has invested £14.2 million to take a majority stake in Land Survey Solutions, which trades as Survey Solutions, with the deal providing an exit for founder James Cooper and an exit for mid-market private equity investor RJD Partners. The deal was supported by a debt funding package from alternative debt finance provider ThinCats.
Following the deal, Survey Solutions is set to embark on a buy-and-build growth strategy, building on its previous acquisitive growth strategy, which included the 2021 acquisition of North West-based Survey Systems and was continued after David Lowe joined the firm as CEO in 2022.
Survey Solutions was founded in 1997 and has grown into a significant national operator, with a particularly sizeable footprint in the North West. The firm has 14 regional offices, including locations in Birmingham, Coventry, Nottingham, Bristol, Somerset and Wilmslow and will seek to expand its network of offices through its buy-and-build strategy.
The company has a 160-strong workforce, most of which is comprised of specialist surveyors. The firm’s high-profile clients include Manchester United FC, the National Trust, Transport for London (TfL), Thames Water, Balfour Beatty, Jacobs and Kier.
Survey Solutions CEO David Lowe said that the company “holds a strong position in a niche and extremely fragmented market, with high barriers to scale” and that the industry has "significant opportunity for growth, both organically and through consolidation.”
The deal marks the second investment completed through WestBridge’s private fund limited partnership, WestBridge III, following the 2023 acquisition of digital commerce agency Tryzens.
Discussing WestBridge’s investment, Lowe said that the private equity firm “share our belief in the huge potential for growth that lies ahead.” He added: “We are particularly enthused by the WestBridge Value Creation Model, which provides a blueprint for rigorously identifying revenue accelerating improvements and growth opportunities within the business.”
WestBridge Investment Manager Rebecca Sinclair commented: “Survey Solutions epitomises the type of business we are keen to back. It operates in a highly fragmented niche sector, where there is significant potential for further growth, not least through the adoption of technology and via strategic M&A opportunities.”
“WestBridge has a strong track record of backing niche service providers operating in adjacent markets to Survey Solutions. We were particularly pleased to be introduced to David and recommended as the right partner to support his growth ambitions by the CEO of one of our current investments.”
Michelle Heptinstall and Neil Patel of ThinCats added: "Survey Solutions is a leading niche player in a fragmented market, with an impressive leadership team who are well-placed to lead the buy and build strategy alongside WestBridge and our funding package provides the company with firepower to support this.”
"Our experience in funding high growth, sponsor-backed deals and taking a commercial approach to terms alongside a flexible funding solution, was critical to us delivering a compelling debt package within short timescales."
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