ISIS Equity-backed MBO sees Armstrong Craven move from public to private

Armstrong Craven has severed ties with its AIM-listed parent company through an ISIS Equity Partners-backed management buy-out.

Executive search and intelligence consultancy Armstrong Craven has secured itself a private equity backer and charged itself for international growth.

The management buy-out (MBO) deal has been led by founder Sue Craven, as well as CEO Matthew Mellor and COO Rachel Davis, and sees Armstrong establish itself as a separate entity from holding firm Work Group.

Founded in 1990 by Craven, Armstrong was acquired by Work Group in 2005, before the combined entity was listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in 2007. Having initially been an outsourced partner for traditional recruitment practices, Armstrong then changed to become a provider of senior talent and HR intelligence to corporate.

The £3.5 million investment from ISIS Equity Partners involves a £2.8 million fee payable to Work Group, of which £1.8 million is an initial payment.

Manchester-headquartered Armstrong will now, the business says, continue to build its international presence by targeting new geographies and opening international offices in North America and South East Asia.

Craven adds, ‘It will also support the development of the infrastructure, operations and people; enabling the business to build on strong relationships with existing clients and create new opportunities for growth.’

More on ISIS Equity Partners:

For ISIS Equity Partners, the deal has been led by investment director Nick Holder and partner Pete Clarke – both of whom will join the board of Armstrong.

Holder comments, ‘In an environment where there is a growing global shortage of talent, a heightened requirement to manage succession planning and diversity in the workforce, we foresee an increased demand for Armstrong Craven to support clients’ investment in strategic workforce planning.

‘The business’s differentiated proposition developed over many years means they are ideally placed to support national and international clients with these issues.’

The backing of Armstrong is the fourth investment ISIS Equity Partners has made during 2013. Also entering its portfolio during the first six months of the year were recording software business Red Box Recorders, Enterprise Resource Planning software company Eque2 and fertility clinic Create Health.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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