Green Square advises SPA on private equity merger with Future Thinking

2nd September 2010

Green Square is delighted to announce the sale of leading market research agency SPA to the investment portfolio of private equity firm Next Wave Partners.

The agency will be merged with existing portfolio company Future Thinking, formerly known as The Oxford Research Agency (TORA). The newly formed agency, which will be led by SPA’s Jon Priest as Group CEO, will boast £13m+ turnover and an international network of offices in London, Paris, New York and Oxford. It will rank as one of the UK’s top market research agencies with a headcount of over 100.

Green Square advised the SPA shareholders throughout the comprehensive sale process, from preparation of the initial marketing materials and identification of a wide range of both UK and international acquirers through to the negotiation of the commercial terms of the transaction. The partners also provided additional financial management support to the company during the due diligence process, utilising their own experience as CFOs within similar agencies.

Having held discussions with a number of interested parties, the merger with Future Thinking, backed by Next Wave Partners, was chosen by the shareholders as providing the optimal strategic fit for the future development of SPA with the combination making the most of their complementary areas of sector focus and expertise

Jon Priest, the co-founder and a shareholder of SPA, commented: 

We are delighted with the way in which Green Square led the process. Their detailed knowledge and experience was key to securing the successful conclusion to our search for a strategic partner. They guided us safely and professionally through the complex exercise providing invaluable, focused advice throughout.

Tony Walford, a Green Square partner, commented:

Whilst we identified a number of potential acquirers, it was of utmost importance that we found a buyer that could meet the aspirations of the different shareholders, both financially and strategically. This was a complex transaction, but the fit and chemistry between SPA and Future Thinking was obvious and compelling. In bringing the businesses together under Next Wave, we are very pleased to have assisted in the creation of what is now one of the largest and best-positioned independent market research companies in the UK.