Livingbridge, one of the UK’s leading mid-market private equity investors, has agreed the sale of Sionic, a global consulting firm which tackles complex operational, economic and strategic issues for clients dealing with evolving markets, changing risks, intricate regulation, cultural change, technology and digital advances.
The business has been acquired by Davies Group, a leading specialist professional services and technology business, serving insurance and highly regulated markets.
Sionic was formed through the combination of three pre-existing consultancy firms of longstanding pedigree: Catalyst, Knadel and Sionic Advisors. Livingbridge first backed the MBO of sell-side advisory firm Catalyst in 2017 – having identified its value-add in a sector with a growing long-term requirement for expert, trusted advisers to help financial services institutions navigate change – before acquiring Knadel, a buy-side financial services consultancy business in 2018, and merging with US HQ’d firm Sionic Advisors in 2019 with clients and locations across the globe in Canada, Spain, Switzerland and India – ultimately rebranding the group as Sionic.
During its tenure, Livingbridge backed the company’s “specialism at scale” growth plan in response to client demand. Global spend on financial services consulting exceeds $46BN and has seen an 8-10% compound annual growth rate with over 70% of that spend relating to technology, operations, risk and regulatory compliance and change in banking, capital markets and insurance in North America, Europe and Asia – combining the firms’ key areas of expertise.
The combined group is now one of the world’s largest and fastest growing independent specialist consulting firms with a combined revenue of over $65m and a staff base of more than 300 professionals based in a dozen locations across North America, Europe and Asia, operating with a fully internationalised platform for their global client base.
Pete Clarke at Livingbridge said:
“Sionic is a great business, ideally placed to capitalise on the significant market opportunity being driven by regulatory and technology change effecting the largest financial services institutions globally. Since investing in the initial platform at Catalyst in 2017, we have supported the company in driving its international growth and expansion through strategic M&A. We are really proud of the progress Craig and the team have made in reinforcing its position as a key player in the sector and very much look forward to seeing their growth continue over the coming years.”
Craig Sher, CEO at Sionic said: “Livingbridge’s support enabled us to execute a highly value additive, cross-border merger whilst also developing a robust growth strategy for the firm. Pete and the Livingbridge team were able to help us paint a clear picture of how we should take advantage of the market opportunities we have, and have been super supportive in helping us realise it.”
The principal advisors on this exit for Livingbridge and the board of Sionic included :
- Clearwater International – Corporate Finance (Richard Goldsack, Wes Fell-Smith, Jon Grant)
- Eversheds Sutherland – Legal (Mark Beardmore, Ceri-Ann McGraa, Jessica Christy).