Improve International / RJD Partners and Management
Cavendish advises Benchmark Holdings plc on its strategic exit of global continuing veterinary education provider Improve International to RJD Partners and Improve Management. The deal showcases Cavendish’s expertise in both corporate disposals and the global education and training sector.
Cavendish Corporate Finance, the UK’s leading sell-side mid-market M&A firm, has advised aquaculture genetics, health and specialist nutrition business Benchmark Holdings plc on its sale of Improve International, a global provider of continuing education to the veterinary sector, to RJD Partners and the Improve management team.
Under the terms of the disposal, Benchmark will receive a total cash consideration of up to £12.75m. RJD has taken a majority stake in the business investing alongside Improve’s management team led by Chief Executive, Heber Alves and original founder David Babington. Improve provides both specialist postgraduate courses and qualifications as well as continuing professional development training to veterinary professionals. Its key programmes are structured on a modular basis comprising both face-to-face practical and classroom learning as well as online delivery. Training is delivered directly in eight countries and through license partners in a further six. Its fully online distance learning propositions reach a global audience.
Cavendish has extensive experience in both the global education and training sector and in advising listed corporates on disposals of non-core activities. Corporate disposals completed by the firm in 2019 included fine wine merchant Lay & Wheeler for Naked Wines, award-winning broadcast post production business The Farm by WPP and four business as part of Centaur Media’s strategic divestment programme.
The Cavendish team for Benchmark was led by Andrew Jeffs, Partner, Business Services, Joe Stelzer, Consultant and Rebecca McCredie, Associate Director.
James Banfield, Head of Knowledge Services, Benchmark, commented: “I would thoroughly recommend Andrew and Rebecca and the Cavendish team to anyone looking to maximise the proceeds from a disposal or asset sale. The Cavendish team are both consummate professionals, focused on delivery and pragmatic and flexible in their approach to helping their clients achieve their objectives. I would not hesitate to recommend them and would hope to work with them on future projects. They provide great value.”
Andrew Jeffs, Partner, Business Services at Cavendish Corporate Finance, commented: “We are delighted to have advised on this disposal, which is an important step in Benchmark’s strategy to exit non-core areas to focus on its key disciplines, and further strengthens their financial position and liquidity. RJD Partners with their track record in education and training are the ideal partner for Heber and the Improve team. We expect to see many more deals in the sector as investment for digital delivery is accelerated by the imperative to respond to the impact of COVID-19.”
“This transaction is a hugely important step in the company’s development, strongly positioning the business for its next phase of growth, allowing us to meet the growing need for secondary school students to learn in an independent, fluid and remote manner.”
“Cortland shares our core values and our customers focus, and their additional resources will help us accelerate our growth in the UK market.”
“Thank you to John and your fantastic team at FinnCap Cavendish for your unwavering support, dedication, work ethic and belief in Xexec’s mission. John, Mike and Sam were instrumental in bringing the deal to a successful completion and provided invaluable guidance throughout the process.
We look forward to our new partnership with the Castik and Abry teams who are the ideal partners as we continue to expand our business and pursue the next phase of our strategy.”
‘The finnCapCavendish team were great to work with, they took time to listen, properly understand our objectives and tailored the process to get a fantastic result for us. They really understood the value drivers in the ICT sector and had access to all the key buyers for our business, they were able to efficiently manage the sale process maintaining the great relationship we’d built we Adept as our preferred buyer.’
“Thank you to Jon, Steph and Chirag for their tireless efforts in recent months. Jon offered invaluable leadership and strategic advice, while Chirag and Steph provided diligent and supportive guidance throughout. They also behaved throughout as one would expect friends and confidants to act, which is very helpful in a confidential situation. We were delighted with the result and very, very pleased to have had the three of them as our team.”
“Cavendish has a great brand and great people, and from the moment the appointment was made, we knew we were in safe hands. The Cavendish team of Andrew, Steve and Paris delivered the right advice at all times. The strength of their international reach brought parties to the table including ZEDRA who we would never have found ourselves and who saw the potential in our business and our team. Cavendish controlled the process and the negotiations throughout. They also understood how we felt as founders to be selling a business we had built over 12 years. Many thanks once again to the Cavendish team – I would highly recommend them.”
“This deal represents a fantastic opportunity for our investors to support an established and well managed business with an excellent reputation in the facilities management sector. We are delighted with the debt financing package arranged by finnCap, which was a critical element to the completion of the transaction. We were extremely pleased with how the process was managed by the finnCap Debt Advisory Team, which provided us with optionality to select the most appropriate banking partner for CMS.”
I would thoroughly recommend Andrew and Rebecca and the Cavendish team to anyone looking to maximise the proceeds from a disposal or asset sale. The Cavendish team are both consummate professionals, focused on delivery and pragmatic and flexible in their approach to helping their clients achieve their objectives. I would not hesitate to recommend them and would hope to work with them on future projects. They provide great value.
“It was a great pleasure to work with the Cavendish team once again. Having successfully worked together on the sale of our Payroll business in 2018, Cavendish were our natural choice of advisors. The team demonstrated a deep understanding of the sector and provided sound and trusted advice throughout the process.
We are confident the business will continue to flourish under IRIS Software Group’s ownership, further developing and delivering our market-leading software to new markets, and we look forward to working together during this next chapter.”
“I am very grateful to Joe Stelzer and the Cavendish team for their efforts in managing this transaction. Express Vending will operate as a standalone business unit while continuing to develop new and innovative product offerings. The Cavendish team were hands-on and provided invaluable advice throughout the process and ultimately achieved a successful outcome for all shareholders.”
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