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East Midlands Chamber News

Recruitment sector deals increasing

Recruitment sector deal volumes in the first quarter of 2015 were 27% up on the same period last year according to analysis from business and finance adviser Grant Thornton.

Maria O’Donnell, Associate Director in Grant Thornton’s advisory team in the Midlands, said: “A total of 19 deals were completed in the first quarter, boosted by a significant amount of activity in the corporate leadership and staff training sub-sectors.

"Interestingly, however, this is the second successive quarter where no international acquisitions were completed, perhaps signalling hesitation from overseas investors as a result of the on-going uncertainty within the current regulatory environment.”

Notable deals during the quarter include Grant Thornton’s sale of global management training and executive coaching business The Oxford Group to The City & Guilds Group in February and Nottingham-headquartered workforce training specialist Staffline’s acquisition of A4e, a provider of welfare to work and skills training services, for a total consideration of £34.5m, on which Grant Thornton’s advisory and tax teams provided financial due diligence and pension scheme advice.

Alex Hyde, director in Grant Thornton’s transaction advisory service team, said: “Staffline will become one of the largest Work Programme providers with this acquisition, following on quickly from its acquisition of Avanta last year, and the move echoes the trend we have seen in the market for some recruitment firms offering related services."

Maria added: “The recruitment sector is certainly enjoying a buoyant period at the moment and now that the UK has a majority Conservative Government we anticipate that any pre-election jitters will evaporate and the trend for increased deal activity will continue.

"The much needed clarity in respect of any further proposals to umbrella companies legislation and acceptable zero contracts will hopefully come through in the Chancellor’s emergency budget on 8 July and help to drive further mergers and acquisitions.”

with a major Midlands-based deal highlighting a trend in training business transactionsNotes: A photograph accompanies this story as appropriate. Caption reads: Maria O’Donnell, associate director in Grant Thornton’s advisory team in the Midlands.