Kin + Carta set for £203m deal with private equity firm

john kerr 1Kin + Carta, the former print giant turned digital transformation consultancy, has accepted a private equity takeover offer valuing it at £203m, in a move designed to “accelerate ambitious growth plans and scale the business”.

Under the offer, which has been made by Kelvin UK Bidco, a newly formed company owned indirectly by funds advised by UK private equity firm Apax Partners, Kin & Carta will receive 110p in cash for each share, which constitutes a 41% premium to its closing price of 78p on Tuesday.

Kin + Carta can trace its roots back to 1964 when Robert Gavron took out a £5,000 loan to purchase a failing publishing business and renamed it after one of its printing plants, which was located in the town of St Ives.

However, it has been undergoing its own digital transformation since 2010 when it diversified away from print and into wider marketing services with the purchase of data firm Occam.

It rebranded as Kin + Carta in 2018 and 2021 became the first certified B Corporation on the London Stock Exchange and was the first publicly traded company in its sector to achieve the certification. The business has also seen significant acquisitions in recent years, including Spire Digital, Cascade Data Labs, Loop, Melon Group (including Frakton), and Octain AI.

Kin + Carta chair John Kerr (pictured) said: “We believe the offer by Apax Funds represents an excellent opportunity for the company to accelerate ambitious growth plans and scale the business, building on the acquisition and integration of leading data and technology companies, the development of valuable technology partnerships, and the creation of a strong portfolio of enterprise clients.

“Apax’s experience supporting and growing digital consultancy businesses with valuable connections, resources and access to incremental growth capital will enable Kin and Carta to expedite progress on the company’s existing strategy, by bolstering M&A capacity, providing access to new markets, and supporting the management team to deliver profitable long-term growth.

“The Kin + Carta board has concluded that the offer from Apax Funds provides shareholders with the certainty of a cash price today that fairly represents the opportunities and risks inherent in the business and delivery of our strategy. The board unanimously intends to recommend that shareholders vote in favour of the acquisition.”

Apax partner Rohan Haldea added: “We are impressed by Kin + Carta’s unique culture, talented team, and focus on customer impact as evidenced by their B Corp status. We have followed the company closely for several years and we have witnessed first-hand how their focus on innovation and strong platform in the digital transformation sector has made them a partner of choice for clients grappling with complex technology problems.

“We believe there is significant opportunity to enhance Kin + Carta’s prospects as a private company, including by pursuing acquisitions that would enhance further its competitive position.

“As significant investors in the space, we hope to draw on our network, experience and operational expertise to support management and the wider team by investing in the business to enhance the value for customers, employees and other stakeholders, building on the firm’s success to date.”

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