Glasgow PE firm Maven exits SPS with 3x return

Glasgow-based private equity firm Maven Capital Partners announced its exit from promotional merchandise company SPS (EU) Holdings while “delivering a 3x return on funds invested in 2014.”

Maven said: “This transaction is the second profitable exit for Maven investors in as many months, following the sale of Crawford Scientific for 4.7x the initial investment in October.”

SPS is the UK’s largest provider of promotional merchandise, supplying more than 2,000 independent distributors in the UK and Europe.

Maven said SPS has been acquired by promotional products giant PF Concept International B.V., part of the Polyconcept Group (PFC), a US multi-national backed by Charlesbank Capital Partners, a US mid-market private equity firm.

SPS operates out of a 90,000ft 2 site in Blackpool with manufacturing, branding and storage facilities, with two additional sites in Oxfordshire and Derbyshire.

SPS employs about 300 staff.

Maven said it led the management buy-out of SPS from 4imprint Group plc in February 2014 to support its strategy of growing the business organically and by acquisition.

“SPS achieved impressive growth, through a commitment to innovation, operational excellence and new product development,” said Maven.

“Maven supported the SPS management team in identifying and acquiring two high quality bolt-on acquisitions, High Profile in June 2015 and T.E.C. in November 2015, which strengthened its position as a lead manufacturer in the UK and European markets.”

Ryan Bevington, Investment Director at Maven, said: “We were very impressed with the management team’s vision for the SPS business from the outset.

“They have executed their strategy successfully, delivering robust growth by investing in the manufacturing and I.T. capabilities of the business and integrated the acquisitions seamlessly.

“We wish Phil and his team all the very best for the future and are confident that they will be able to take the business to the next level with new owner PF Concept.”

Philip Morgan, CEO of SPS said: “Maven believed in our vision for the business and has been a hugely supportive financial partner and adviser.

“Ryan and the team played an important role in helping transform SPS through a combination of small acquisitions, international growth and operational efficiencies, and we were very pleased to have worked so closely with them over the past few years.

“SPS is in the position where it will now benefit from being part of a larger group and it is thanks to the foundations that Maven helped the management team of SPS to put into place that we are were able to attract the interest of such a successful global business.”