26 January 2022
BDA and William Blair advise EQT on sale of ELEVATE to LRQA
Divested ELEVATE to LRQA
BDA Partners is pleased to announce that EQT, advised by BDA in conjunction with William Blair, has agreed to sell its majority stake in ELEVATE to LRQA via its EQT Mid Market Fund. Under the transaction, ELEVATE will be acquired by LRQA and Ian Spaulding, who has led the successful growth of ELEVATE since its inception in 2013, will join the LRQA executive team. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close in 2022.
Headquartered in Hong Kong, ELEVATE is a market leading, premium provider of customized solutions focusing on ESG and supply chain effectiveness with operations in more than 100 countries. The Company supports over 450 corporate customers along global supply chains within ESG and sustainable sourcing through a unique combination of in-depth insights driven by on-the-ground presence, high-quality and comprehensive services and data analytics. EQT Private Equity acquired a majority interest in ELEVATE in 2016, with the founders and management retaining significant stakes in the Company.
Headquartered in the UK, LRQA is the leading global assurance provider bringing together expertise in certification, cybersecurity, inspection, and training. LRQA focuses on helping companies negotiate a rapidly changing risk landscape, with the ambition to lead the digital transformation of the assurance market. LRQA was formed from the sale of the Business Assurance and Inspection Services division of Lloyd’s Register, to funds managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
BDA Partners and William Blair acted as exclusive financial advisors to EQT on the transaction. Terms were not disclosed.
Vesa Koskinen, Partner within EQT Private Equity’s Advisory Team, said, “It has been an exciting journey with ELEVATE which is now a global leader of ESG and supply chain services and a pioneer in the industry. Ian and the management team have done a fantastic job in driving the Company’s strategic vision and we are proud to have supported ELEVATE over the past few years. We are confident that ELEVATE will continue to be successful in combination with LRQA.”
Ian Spaulding, Co-Founder and CEO of ELEVATE, said, “We would like to thank EQT for being a supportive partner to ELEVATE over the past six years, successfully transforming our company into a holistic ESG and supply chain service provider. Under the partnership with EQT, not only did ELEVATE diversify its service portfolio and build up critical capabilities in advisory, program management and data analytics, we also established robust governance and formed a strong leadership team, positioning us well for the next growth phase with LRQA.”
Mark Webster, Partner, Head of Singapore and Head of the Services sector, BDA Partners, added, “This is a great example of a cross-border transaction in today’s dynamic ESG sector, delivering a successful exit for our private equity client and opening a new chapter for ELEVATE and its senior leadership. We wish Ian and his team all the best for an exciting future with LRQA.”
EQT is a purpose-driven global investment organization with EUR 73.4 billion in assets under management across 28 active funds. EQT funds have portfolio companies in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas with total sales of approximately EUR 29 billion and more than 175,000 employees. EQT works with portfolio companies to achieve sustainable growth, operational excellence and market leadership. www.eqtgroup.com
ELEVATE is an industry leader in sustainability and supply chain services globally, with more than 17 years’ expertise in designing, building and managing data-driven, sustainability linked programs that drive positive impact. ELEVATE’s business-minded perspective and relentless focus on transparency, innovation, sustainability and measurable impact delivers lasting positive change for companies, brands and retailers, suppliers, factories and workers. Having built an extensive global portfolio of clients, including corporates with international supply chains, suppliers, investors and banks, industry coalitions, NGOs and governments, and an operating footprint across 100 countries, ELEVATE currently conducts over 20,000 assessments and audits per year, to the highest standards of quality and integrity. www.elevatelimited.com
About William Blair
William Blair is the premier global boutique with expertise in investment banking, investment management, and private wealth management. We provide advisory services, strategies, and solutions to meet our clients’ evolving needs. As an independent and employee-owned firm, together with our strategic partners, we operate in more than 20 offices worldwide*.
William Blair made a minority investment in and entered into a strategic alliance with BDA Partners in order to offer clients our collective global reach.
*Includes strategic partnerships with Allier Capital, BDA Partners, and Poalim Capital Markets. www.williamblair.com
BDA Partners is the global investment banking advisor for Asia. We are a premium provider of Asia-related advice to sophisticated clients globally, with 25 years experience advising on cross-border M&A, capital raising, and financial restructuring. We provide global reach with our teams in New York and London, and true regional depth through our seven Asian offices in Mumbai, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, and Tokyo. BDA has deep expertise in the Chemicals, Consumer & Retail, Health, Industrials, Services and Technology sectors. We work relentlessly to earn our clients’ trust by delivering insightful advice and outstanding outcomes.
BDA Partners has strategic partnerships with William Blair, a premier global investment banking business, and with DBJ (Development Bank of Japan), a Japanese government-owned bank with US$150bn of assets.
US securities transactions are performed by BDA Partners’ affiliate, BDA Advisors Inc., a broker-dealer registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). BDA Advisors Inc. is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and SIPC. In the UK, BDA Partners is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In Hong Kong, BDA Partners (HK) Ltd. is licensed and regulated by the Securities & Futures Commission (SFC) to conduct Type 1 and Type 4 regulated activities to professional investors. www.bdapartners.com
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