Livingstone’s Business Services sector team has advised the shareholders of Catalyst Development, a specialist financial services consultancy, on a management buy-out backed by private equity investor Livingbridge.
Founded in 1994, Catalyst provides regulatory-driven change, organisational improvement and talent development programmes to global financial markets companies. Catalyst has worked with more than 70 clients in over 30 financial centres worldwide, including nine out of the world’s top 12 investment banks, and has mentored more than 250 of the most senior figures in financial markets. Catalyst holds the UK’s highest business accolade, The Queen’s Award for Enterprise, in recognition of the firm’s global impact.
Global banks spent about $30bn on consultancy fees in 2016, up from $17bn in 2008. Client demand for Catalyst’s specialist services is significant, driven by far-reaching G20 commitments to making markets safer in the wake of the financial crisis. Catalyst’s clients are now increasingly requiring ‘specialism at scale’ to tackle large, complex programmes of transformational change.
Andrew Middleton, CEO at Catalyst, commented: “Since the financial crisis, there has been a growing need for expert, trusted advisors to help financial institutions navigate change. Our ambition is to become Europe’s leading financial markets specialists. In Livingbridge, Livingstone have identified an ideal partner for us who will enable us to build on the momentum we have already generated and accelerate our growth to establish Catalyst as the unrivalled choice for specialist financial markets consultancy.”
Livingbridge’s investment will enable Catalyst to address its market’s escalating requirements and grow its client base by accelerating its service development, expanding its talent development and acquisition strategy (with the aim of trebling headcount) and strengthening its infrastructure.
Catalyst also intends to increase its international presence, and Livingbridge has committed to provide additional capital to pursue strategic acquisitions.
Alex John, Partner at Livingstone London, added: “The Catalyst team are one of the most impressive management teams we have worked with, and have developed an excellent reputation for deep subject matter expertise and service delivery. There is a clear market opportunity, and with the backing of Livingbridge, we are confident they will build a highly attractive specialist consultancy of genuine scale.”
Greg Davis, Founder and retiring Chairman of Catalyst, concluded: “Livingstone quickly grasped the nature of our business, what makes it desirable and what future ownership we needed to fulfil our ambition. They ran a disciplined and highly professional process and attracted several good trade buyers and private equity investors. Even more importantly we trusted Livingstone to help us decide on the best partner for Catalyst going forward. Their outstanding advice and professionalism have been invaluable to the success of this process.”
The completion of this transaction reinforces Livingstone’s credentials in the specialist consultancy space following on from the sale of Technicon Design to French engineering group Segula Technologies, Tata Technologies’ strategic acquisition of Escenda and the sale of Javelin Group to Accenture.