George Potts

We completed the primary buyout of Utiligroup in June, a special moment for several individuals involved and worthy of a brief mention:

For starters, despite contributing in small part to a number of our completed deals to date, it is my first involvement from start to completion in just under 3 years working in private equity; where although not for want of trying, processes to do a deal start and stop! This is owed to the number of moving parts in any deal: vendor ambitions; availability of information; trading; management expectations and competitive sale processes all impact the chance of success (to name a few). These have all combined in one way or another to make my first deal, “the elusive one” (speech marks because my fingers are crossed!).

However, this wasn’t “my” deal by any stretch and was special for many others critical to its successful conclusion. For Jon Pickering, leading the transaction, his first deal after leaving LDC (and I’m sure the first of many more to come!). For Matt Hirst and Drew Green of Utiligroup, the deal meant realising a career long-ambition; to buy and own the business they work for and take charge of its future.

That last point is an area I would like to focus on a little more because at NorthEdge, it resonates: we own our business (the different feeling it engenders going into work early and leaving late cannot be understated!). We therefore understand the desire of ambitious individuals to take ownership of their firm.

In essence, enabling that ownership is what private equity is all about – delivering equity into the hands of the people that want to grow their business and supporting them to execute their plan. I have no doubt that is majorly responsible for the returns we deliver to our stakeholders, where in a completed deal true alignment has been achieved and the moving parts have settled into one direction.