Hogenhouck, a boutique M&A office, realized in 2016 its best year since its establishment ten years ago (May, 2007). During this year, the office was involved in a record breaking total number of eighteen (18) transactions. Consultancy (a leading Dutch consultancy website with more than 1 million viewers per year) contacted Hogenhouck six months after date for text and explanation and the experiences and expectations for 2017.
Hogenhouck, founded in 2007 by Managing Partners Rik Stikkelbroeck and Mark Van Beusekom, focuses mainly on mid-market deals (enterprise value between € 10 and € 50 million), focusing in particular on IT, industry, food and staffing. Over the past ten years, Hogenhouck has built a strong name with emphasis on the Tech sector and especially the IT market. The M&A office today has eight professionals, helping clients with a range of financial services. For example, the boutique firm based in The Hague provides services at the cutting edge of Purchase, Sales, Management Buy Out (MBO), Valuation, Management Buy In (MBI) and Financing.
In consultation with Consultancy.nl, co-founder Stikkelbroeck, 2nd to left, announced last October that 2016 was the best year in the history of the young office. “We finally closed eighteen (18) deals in 2016, something we are particularly proud of”.
Transactions that vary widely in size. Eye-catching transactions such as the sale of the European active Infotheek Group (IT) to Swedish Altor Equity Partners (a process accompanied by its international colleague EOC Partners, an international investment bank with locations in the US and Europe). The acquisition by Cornelis Vrolijk of Seafood Parlevliet (fish sector) and the sale of Hot ITem (IT) to the Hoge Dennen (BI / IT) as a few examples. Next to transactions in staffing (Geomet sold to ABO Group), IT (sale process of Lancom, buying process of Impulse), security (Daretronics) and Marine (Pat Kruger).
“Honesty is to say that we embrace both the smaller and the larger transactions with the same enthusiasm, ultimately we get the satisfaction of achieving transactions that are healthy for both parties in the long term, nice transactions that are simply good for our clients.”
Asking for the expectations for 2017, Stikkelbroeck is constantly positive. “The fact that we have been able to complete seven transactions during the first five months of 2017 shows a similar picture with that of last year. From both Private Equity and (International) strategic buyers, there is still a lot of appetite in doing transactions. A number of sectors (including IT and staffing) seem to draw extra interest. We clearly see continued pressure on multiples, money has to be rendering and is doing well in SMEs.” The expectations after 2018/2019 are less pronounced, states co-founder Stikkelbroeck. “We think that in some sectors, for example, IT and then specifically verticals as hardware, software, managed services and managed hosting in which we as Hogenhouck are very frequently active, the years 2017 and 2018 are still in the process of consolidation but after 2018 we expect the (local) markets to cool down. Big ticket transactions will then go internationally (cross border) and the most important consolidations will undoubtedly have taken place nationally”.
On the Hogenhouck testimonial board, a number of outstanding transactions were announced in 2017: the acquisition of TrainMore (a nationally and internationally operating fitness chain), acquisitions with Infotheek Group in early 2017 of the UK based IT company Added Dimension and Dutch IT company GHS, followed by the acquisition of Scholten Awater as an industry associate (good for approximately € 250 million sales) meaning that Infotheek Group is soon crossing the € 700 million sales landmark .
CEO of Infotheek Group Jordy Kool last year concluded that he has the objective of raising Infotheek’s turnover within a few years above the EUR 1.0 Billion (EUR 1.000 Million), greatly appreciating Hogenhouck’s commitment. But also the acquisitions of Van der Sat (in which former Foxx IT founder Menno van der Marel joined as CEO) and the acquisition of Nedercare (IT in the Healthcare) by Gilde Equity Management are already the eye catching transactions for 2017.
Asked for the key to these healthy developments, Stikkelbroeck says: “We should be honest that the market is currently active, both in the corporate segment and in the SME market.” In addition, Stikkelbroeck believes that an important role is played by Hogenhouck and more specifically the way they work. “The long term loyalty of our clients is based on the quality of our services. By providing real added value, acting as trusted advisor and working on long-term relationships over short-term successes, we have grown into the M&A boutique which we are today; where clients really feel at home.
Stikkelbroeck concludes, “The majority of our clients are long-term, about 40% of our assignments are recurring. The biggest compliment in our work is the daily appreciation we get from our relationships, which gives us the energy to continue to realize good transactions!”