Graphite Capital backs £100m MBO of Alexander Mann Solutions

Graphite Capital, a UK mid-market private equity specialist, has backed the £100 million management buy-out of Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS) from global private equity group, Advent International. 

AMS is the largest independent provider of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) solutions to blue-chip companies worldwide. AMS was founded in 1996 by chief executive, Rosaleen Blair, the Veuve Clicquot 2007 Business Woman of the Year. All of the senior management team, led by Rosaleen, are substantial investors in the buy-out. 

AMS provides clients with integrated processes throughout the entire resourcing and recruitment cycle from the initial hiring stage through to outplacement.  It creates an efficient, cost effective and competitive recruitment operation with better candidates, improved retention rates, enhanced employee productivity and increased job satisfaction, all with significant cost savings.

After 11 years of strong growth, AMS now has 900 staff serving 28 clients in more than 50 countries and is the leading RPO provider in Europe and Asia-Pacific. It generated turnover of £340 million in the year to September 2007.  The RPO market is set for long-term double digit growth. Following the buyout, AMS will capitalise on that growth by developing new products and services, expanding into additional geographical areas and building its presence in new industry sectors.

Graphite partner, Mike Tilbury, said: “AMS has a leading position in this high growth outsourcing market and is run by a fantastic management team.  Through the quality of its operations, it has won long-term contracts with some of the biggest companies in the world and has a clear strategy for growth with existing and new clients in Europe, the Far East, Australasia and North America.”

Graphite has considerable experience of backing strong teams in the recruitment and outsourcing sectors through entire cycles. Such companies include NES, the technical recruitment business serving the oil and gas, power and infrastructure sectors; recruitment firms PSD (now named OPD Group) and Huntress; recruitment communications business, TMP Worldwide; and Aktrion, the managed outsourced staffing services group.

Rosaleen Blair, AMS’s chief executive, commented: “We have built a scalable international business helping the world’s leading companies efficiently recruit the best talent available.  We are delighted to have the backing of Graphite and, with their support, we can continue to build on our global platform and roll-out our business model to new sectors and geographical areas.”

John Singer, the Advent managing director who led the investment, said: “Advent’s partnership with AMS has been a very exciting one. We have worked very closely with its first class management team over several years to achieve its current leadership position and growth within the international market. We wish the company continuing success with its new backer, Graphite.”

Mike Tilbury, Jenny Michelman, Simon ffitch, Mudassir Khan and John O’Neill managed the transaction for Graphite, which has acquired a substantial majority stake in the business. 

Graphite invested £50 million in the transaction which is the first by its most recent fund, Graphite Capital Partners VII.

HSBC provided acquisition finance, senior debt and invoice discounting facilities.

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