Insider perspectives for business owners adapting to an evolving business landscape

As 2024 progresses, Oaklins’ latest insights spotlight sectors invigorated by technological advancements. We explore the dynamic transformations in mobility and agriculture, where digitalization and artificial intelligence pave the way for new efficiencies and growth, and we highlight the renewed potential within European HR services as the continent’s macroeconomic trends show promise.

In celebrating the pivotal contributions of women in M&A on International Women’s Day, we underscore our dedication to diversity and inclusion, recognizing their crucial influence in propelling the industry forward.

With our specialists attentively monitoring critical developments, Oaklins stands ready to guide business owners through the shifting landscape. Equipped with foresight and expert insights, we’re here to help you make the most strategic decisions for the future of your company, ensuring you seize the opportunities of tomorrow.

Global insights

BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICES: A bright spot on the horizon for the European HR services sector

HR EUROPE SPOT ON: 2024 has got off to a positive start for the European economy, with signs that the recent low GDP growth may be bottoming out, thanks to trends such as weakening inflationary pressures and a forecast of reduced interest rates. This is good news for the HR Europe sector.

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2024 started with indicators signaling that the decline in GDP growth may be bottoming out, after a prolonged period of inflationary pressures that prompted central banks to hike interest rates. The moderate growth environment and restrictive monetary landscape are now hand in hand with weakening inflationary trends. And despite the restrictive monetary policy and low GDP growth, unemployment continued to fall to record lows as a result of tight labor markets. With lower central bank policy rates on the horizon, transaction levels in the mid-market remained relatively high throughout the end of 2023 and into early 2024, while the valuation levels of listed peers have been rising back towards historical averages. TOM VAN DE MEIRSSCHE, HR EUROPE SPECIALIST, OAKLINS

Celebrating the transformation in M&A on International Women’s Day

INTERVIEW: Oaklins Portugal’s policies and practices promote work-life balance and a culture of meritocracy for women. Join us in building a more inclusive and equitable M&A industry.

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My own journey with Oaklins for over 15 years is a testament to the team’s embrace of equality and diversity. Initially, the scarcity of female colleagues was intimidating, but it quickly became clear that my voice was valued and my expertise trusted. Today, it’s a different panorama, one where talented women contribute to every facet of our work, and their presence is not just welcomed, it’s integral. And I always find it very rewarding to interview my female colleagues as we advance together. MELANIE BERTHELOT-VERHAEGHE, HEAD OF MARKETING & BRANDING, OAKLINS INTERNATIONAL

PET CARE: Brand building in the pet industry – Elements of successful brand building, Brands as value drivers in company valuation, M&A activities, and valuation trends

REPORT: This edition of our M&A Pet Care Report looks at relevant past transactions and listed peers in the pet care industry in three newly defined segments: Consumer Products (pet food and retail), Pharmaceuticals (manufacturing and distribution of veterinary drugs) and Veterinary Services (veterinary clinics and practices).

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FOOD & BEVERAGES: M&A market developments and valuation environment in the fourth quarter

M&A UPDATE | Q4 2023: Macroeconomic factors such as inflation rates, external supply chain shocks, and changes in consumer purchasing behavior are impacting the majority of business models, shifting the focus more towards operations and less on M&A transactions.

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CONSUMER & RETAIL: Latest market trends, valuation levels and deals

MARKET UPDATE | Q4 2023: The consumer goods sector (production and trade) is one of the economic sectors that were particularly affected by high levels of inflation in 2023. A high dynamic of change leads to a large number of transactions, some as a result of bankruptcies. At the same time, the sector's overall sales figures enjoy remarkable stability.

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TMT: Navigating tomorrow: a key role for the smart mobility and parking market

IOT SPOT ON: In our latest newsletter, we look at key current trends in the dynamic smart mobility and parking market, including digitalization, automation and sharing concepts, and also outline the main factors that attract investors to this sector, such as growth potential and scalability. 

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BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICES: Positive outlook – stabilizing macroeconomic conditions drive transactions in TICC

TICC SPOT ON: In our latest TICC Spot On, we delve into the reasons behind this positive deal trend, ranging from stabilizing macroeconomic conditions to the enduring appeal of TICC firms among private equity investors.

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LOGISTICS: Charting a course for distribution

DISTRIBUTION SPOT ON: Oaklins hosted a recent webinar on distribution to examine the industry’s current landscape. It was led by Don Wiggins, Oaklins’ distribution specialist, along with Martin S. Harrell, a division president at Beacon Building Products.

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AGRICULTURE I INDUSTRIAL MACHINERY & COMPONENTS: Revolutionizing horticulture – unleashing the power of robotics, machine vision, data & AI

HORTICULTURE SPOT ON: The horticulture sector is starting to embrace the power of robotics, machine vision, data and AI. This is attracting numerous players into the industry, both from within and outside horticulture, looking to benefit from advantageous partnerships.

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Each sub-segment in horticulture follows its unique growth and consolidation cycle, with the robotics ecosystem currently leading in growth. This trend is likely to persist throughout the decade. The market player landscape, while presently fragmented, is evolving. Internal industry forces like economies of scale, synergy, professional demand and the need for comprehensive service offerings are driving players towards forming partnerships in various ways. Additionally, external forces, including financial investors like venture capitalists and private equity firms, are attracted by the consolidation potential and significant market growth. This interest isn’t limited to financial investors; strategic parties outside the sector are also keen. Several market players have already gained from collaborations with others, including venture capitalists, private equity firms and strategic partners from different sectors. These partnerships are not only accelerating their growth but, in some cases, enabling it. As a result, we anticipate a surge in such partnerships in the near future. FRANK DE HEK, HORTICULTURE SPECIALIST, OAKLINS

Global deal highlights

PRIVATE EQUITY | HEALTHCARE | TMT: Cara Care has been acquired by Mahana Therapeutics

DEAL NEWS: Mahana Therapeutics Inc., renowned for its pioneering digital treatments targeting chronic health issues, has recently finalized the acquisition of Cara Care (HiDoc Technologies GmbH). Cara Care stands out as a premier digital health platform and an official digital health application (DiGA) dedicated to enhancing gut health. This acquisition, supported by key investors Lux Capital and Jazz Ventures Partners, perfectly aligns with Mahana’s expansion strategy.

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DEAL NEWS: The private shareholder of the civil engineering company Grothe Bau Group has sold a majority stake to the TERRAS Tiefbau Group. With this transaction, the combined group reinforces its market position and future growth potential in the civil engineering sector.

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DEAL NEWS: move UP Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsmanagement mbH, an innovative provider of holistic corporate health management solutions, has been acquired by Acture B.V., a leader in welfare management. This acquisition represents a major step in Acture’s plans to expand into the German corporate health management sector.

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ENERGY: Swedish infrastructure fund expands its green footprint in Denmark with investments in two biogas plants

DEAL FLASH: Infranode’s entry into the biogas sector underlines continued strong investor appetite for biogas assets. Oaklins advised them on the acquisition of a 49% stake in two biogas plants, Foersom and Thorsø, from Renegas.

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FINANCIAL SERVICES: Nordic group invests in UK wealth manager in expansion push

DEAL FLASH: Oaklins Cavendish, based in the UK, advised the shareholders of Fidelius on the investment and retained equity option agreement, along with the management incentive scheme, shareholders’ agreement and equity terms.

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TMT: The largest self-help and transformational book publisher secures its 30-year legacy

DEAL FLASH: Hay House, a leading independent book publisher with renowned expertise in the mind-body-spirit, self-help, and health and wellness space, has been acquired by Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher. Oaklins’ expertise was instrumental in facilitating this deal.

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INDUSTRIAL MACHINERY & COMPONENTS: Industry leaders join forces in the pipe support systems sector

DEAL FLASH: The shareholders of LISEGA SE have sold their shares to BUHLMANN Rohr-Fittings Stahlhandel GmbH + Co. KG (BUHLMANN Group). Oaklins’ experience and professionalism ensured a successful transaction.

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