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Livingbridge announces sale of The Up Group

  • Related sector Services
  • Investment status Realised
  • Related company The Up Group
Livingbridge has agreed the sale of The Up Group, Europe’s leading digital search, advisory and networking firm

Livingbridge’s realisation comes via a strategic trade acquisition from Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS), backed by OMERS Private Equity, the private equity arm of one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans. AMS will support The Up Group in delivering enhanced talent solutions to its clients, scaling its international operations and expanding its team, whilst retaining Up’s strong brand and autonomy to deliver market-leading digital executive search.

Having recognised the firm’s unique offering and backing an experienced senior management team led by CEO and Founder, Clare Johnston, and CFO, Jed Butcher, Livingbridge invested in 2016, from its Enterprise 2 Fund. Since then, the firm has cemented its reputation as a trusted adviser in boardrooms across Europe, gaining widespread recognition as a talent leader of choice within the digital sphere. Its significant success has been reflected in its revenue which has grown by over 50% and its headcount which has doubled since Livingbridge’s investment. In parallel, Up has built a hugely impressive client base across VC and PE-backed as well as listed companies, digital pure-plays and multichannel, including brands such as Farfetch, Booking, Airbnb, Trainline, Onfido, Nike, Kingfisher and HomeServe. It has also accelerated its well-known events programme, the Digital Masters, which sees Up now convene circa 2000 people annually in the US and across Europe at various events including the pan-European talent awards, the DMAs.

Mark Turner at Livingbridge, said: “I am thrilled with the level of success achieved by The Up Group, particularly over the past four years. It has been a real pleasure to partner with Clare and the team to further consolidate their leadership position in the digital talent sector. We wish the team all the best in the next stage of their development.”

Clare Johnston, CEO and Founder of The Up Group, commented: “Livingbridge’s strategic guidance and financial support have proved invaluable in taking us to the next level, and I am proud to say that The Up Group is now in a stronger position than ever. We look forward to starting our partnership with Alexander Mann Solutions. Having already worked closely with its founder Rosaleen Blair, for several years, we have every confidence in our ability to continue our growth journey.”

This investment builds on Livingbridge’s extensive experience in the business services sector, including Nigel Frank International, Armstrong Craven and Staffline. The sale marks yet another fruitful exit for Livingbridge in this space.

The principal advisors on this exit for Livingbridge included Arrowpoint Advisory LLP (corporate finance advisory) and Shoosmiths LLP (legal advisory).