Catalyst Corporate Finance has acted as lead adviser on the sale of financial services and IT staffing business Aston Carter Group to US-based Allegis Group.
The deal, for a reported £55 million, represents Allegis’s largest acquisition to date and its first in Europe.
Aston Carter was founded by chief executive Sean Zimdahl who completed a management buyout supported by Baird Capital Partners Europe in 2007.
Catalyst advised on the original management buyout and has worked closely with the board since then to ensure the business would be attractive to a larger staffing acquirer when the time was right for Baird Capital Partners to seek an exit.
Catalyst partner Mark Humphries, who led the deal, said: “The rationale for acquiring Aston Carter was very strong.
“This is an excellent opportunity for Allegis to expand its international footprint across Europe and Asia.
“There is a strong cultural fit between the two businesses which will ensure a seamless transition for both candidates and clients.
“In addition the acquisition will provide an opportunity for Allegis Group to introduce Aston Carter to some of its large global clients.”
Aston Carter is the UK’s largest independent specialist staffing business operating across the financial services and IT sectors.
With offices in the UK, Europe and Asia the company employs 300 people and has sales in excess of £180 million, split between contract and permanent placements.
Mr Zimdahl, who was named Recruitment Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010, will stay with the business to run the Aston Carter Group after the deal, as well as joining the senior leadership team for Allegis Europe.
Catalyst worked closely with Mr Zimdahl to help Allegis understand the benefits of acquiring Aston Carter and then negotiated the deal through to completion.
This was a highly complex deal including ensuring that current Aston Carter staff were incentivised to stay with the new business to help it grow and achieve its full potential.
As a result, Aston Carter employees are investing in the combined business and will own a substantial minority share.
Mr Zimdahl said: “I am delighted to be working with Allegis Group, allowing us to deliver a broader service with a greater geographical reach to our current client base whilst enabling us to introduce new clients to our offering through the Allegis network. The advice and support given to us by Catalyst over the years and throughout this process has been invaluable and their guidance and experience enabled us deliver a very complex deal that met the objectives of ourselves, Allegis and Baird Capital Partners.”