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Clairfield H1 2022 review: investing in the future

Troubling events are affecting the M&A market with a fall in global activity compared to last year, though the private midmarket is somewhat shielded from the negative developments in public markets and larger transactions. Buyers and sellers of businesses have shifted their focus to transaction certainty of a process and quality of a business, rather than maximum valuation. Private equity is driving activity in midmarket M&A. Clairfield continues to lead in the worldwide advisory rankings and invest in the future with enhanced branding and new corporate initiatives.

Clairfield closed EUR 2 billion in deal value in the first half of 2022 with over 50 transactions. The industrials, services, and technology sectors accounted for about 73% of our deals. Private equity activity contributed to approximately 50% of all deals, about the same level as last year, and at Clairfield we have not noted any diminishing of crossborder interest. Multiples continues to be high with asset sales running at the Clairfield Multiple of 11x.

Transactions advised by Clairfield in the first half of this year include:

  • The sale of Italian third-generation family business Salice to Cobepa, a Belgian investment firm. Salice is the world leader in the production of opening systems and functional components for the furniture industry with over EUR 200 million in revenues.
  • Four deals in the dental sector where we are establishing ourselves as the leader in the European consolidation wave.
  • The sale by EMK and Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), a leading technology and engineering services business founded in 2010 as part of the Formula 1 motorsports business, to Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) for GBP 164 million.
  • The sale of TMI, a provider of healthcare staffing and recruitment services in the Netherlands, to House of HR, the leading European HR services group.
  • The acquisition by Italian artificial intelligence and big data company Reply [EXM, STAR: REY] of Fincon Unternehmensberatung GmbH, a leading German consultancy in digital transformation projects for the banking and the insurance industry.
  • The partnership of Rasa Floors, a US provider of replacement flooring solutions, with Saw Mill Capital.
  • The sale of Alliance Automation Pty Ltd, a provider of industrial automation and electrical engineering services, to Telstra Corp Ltd, the Australia-based telecommunications company providing wired and wireless broadband internet, and telecommunication services.
  • The sale of Advantage Engineering Inc, a Canadian provider of prototyping, additive manufacturing, and low-volume production, to SyBridge Technologies Inc., a global industrial technology company established by Crestview Partners.

In H1, Clairfield once more ranked alongside the biggest names in investment banking with top positions in the global and European Refinitiv league tables, as well as top 10 placements in Eastern Europe (ranked 2nd), Benelux (ranked 5th), and the Nordics and Australia (both ranked 8th).

Clairfield’s big news of the summer is our branding and new web. After 17 years of history and 12 years since our last study of the Clairfield brand, it was time to adapt the logo to better reflect our innovative and clear thinking and highlight our dedication to our clients’ success, however they define it. The new corporate design builds on our strengths and shows continuity with an updated look. We are looking forward to unveiling the new website later this summer, which will further showcase Clairfield achievements. Together with the enlargement of the equity partnership in Q1 2022, they form the backdrop to our partner firms’ full embrace of the power of the Clairfield brand,

Lastly, we have instituted an ESG practice group. If there is one constant in the world, it is the need to embrace ESG goals in business transformation at our clients, just as much as in our own operating business, in order to capture opportunities that sustainability entails. We are pleased that this subject resonates among Clairfielders and inspires the next generation of advisors.

“It has been a busy first half of the year for Clairfield,” says executive chairman Alexander Klemm, “with business holding up well despite the macro shocks around us, and major strategic initiatives under way internally in ESG, digitalization, knowledge management and marketing, indeed investing in the future.”

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