We are pleased to announce that we have supported the primary management buyout of ICP, a global marketing services consultancy.
ICP is headquartered in London with offices across Europe, Asia, and North and South America. The business provides digital marketing, digital asset management services, creative production and consultancy services to global brands, such as Mars, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Warner Bros. and CVS Aetna, supporting them to deliver their increasingly complex multi-channel marketing strategies.
We are backing Christopher Grakal, CEO, and his 250+ strong team, to accelerate the firm’s exceptional growth journey.
With our support, ICP will expand its existing client base, building on its reputation as a market-leading provider of consulting and managed services in the marketing and creative operations space.
ICP is committed to leading innovation in the market and our investment will help the business to launch new services, and upscale its team to support the delivery of the growth plan. The business will continue to place strong emphasis on the development of its people, supplementing this with a number of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives to attract and retain the top talent in the market.
Kevin O’Loughlin, Investment Director at NorthEdge said: “Christopher is a progressive, partnership-minded CEO with whom we’ve built a strong relationship. He has demonstrated that he’s a strong leader with a brilliant team around him, resulting in long-term relationships with some of the most sophisticated brands globally.
“ICP is another business services investment in our portfolio that operates in an emerging and exciting market, with huge potential for growth and innovation. The e-commerce channel continues to grow in importance and, by extension, has increased the requirement for brands to adopt a multi-channel marketing strategy. ICP is well equipped to support brands with such strategies, and we are looking forward to working with the team to continue to grow the business internationally over the coming years.”
Christopher Grakal, CEO of ICP, added: “We’ve delivered a strong track record of growth over the last few years, including in the US, and we want to maintain this momentum. For us, finding the right partner for our next phase of growth was critical, and from the outset it was clear that the NorthEdge team understood our business and the market in which we operate.
“Alongside that, NorthEdge has an impressive track record of investing in businesses and supporting them on their growth journey whilst maintaining a strong focus on people and culture, so I am confident they are well placed to help us execute our ambitious plans and I look forward to seeing where the partnership takes ICP over the next few years.”
The investment was funded from NorthEdge’s £125m SME Fund and was led from the Midlands office by Investment Director Kevin O’Loughlin, supported by Partner Andy Ball, as well as Andrew Skinner, Ellie Wood and our most recent recruit Mike Craven.
Mike joined the Midlands team as Investment Manager in November, with over five years’ experience in corporate finance advisory from Deloitte. He will be responsible for supporting potential investment opportunities, alongside working with NorthEdge’s portfolio companies, to deliver against their value creation strategies.
Andrew Skinner, Director and Head of Midlands at NorthEdge, said: “Mike is a great addition to the team and brings an outstanding track record in M&A. The Midlands market is incredibly strong thanks to the number of high-quality businesses in the region. Mike’s appointment will help to ensure we can support more management teams to build better businesses over the coming years, as we are doing with the team at ICP.”
On completion of the deal, ICP founder Adrian Smith will step down from the role of Chair. Kevin O’Loughlin will join the ICP board on behalf of NorthEdge, with Bernie Segal joining as Non-Executive Chair.
Bernie brings a wealth of experience to the board, having been the Managing Director of Accenture Interactive, UK and Ireland, and a Partner at EY leading digital transformations, strategic development, business scale-up, partnerships and integrations to accelerate growth.
NorthEdge was advised by Browne Jacobson (legal), Fairgrove Partners (commercial due diligence), WY Partners (financial due diligence), Stratton HR (organisational due diligence), Lockton (insurance due diligence) and KPMG (tax structuring).
ICP was advised by Cattaneo Corporate Finance and Management were advised by Forsters (legal).
Senior banking facilities were provided by Santander UK, with legal support from Freeths.
Simon Clewlow, Growth Capital Director at Santander UK said: “We are delighted to support ICP on the next stage of its growth journey. ICP’s outstanding reputation is a true testament to the exceptional client service provided to its global blue chip client base.”