GI Solutions Group

Deal summary

Based in Leicester, GI Solutions Group (GI) is one of the UK’s leading providers of marketing communications services. Established over 20 years ago, GI provides creative, data, direct mail and transactional document services to brands including Tesco, Waitrose, Lloyds and Sky. GI is backed by Stratford-upon- Avon-based GIL Investments.

GI completed a debt funded, management buy-out in March 2016 upon which Patrick Headley was appointed group CEO. As part of GI’s strategy to become the UK’s leading integrated marketing communications business, they began to explore a potential acquisition of the Eclipse Group (Eclipse). Eclipse is a leading provider of commercial print, print management and direct mail services to a broad range of multi-channel retailers, charities and business customers.

It quickly became apparent that there were significant potential synergies to be achieved from combining both businesses. This included efficiency savings from consolidating their direct mail operations, procurement benefits and the ability to offer both customer bases a broader range of services.  

What difference did we make?

We played a key role in GI’s transaction in 2016 and were appointed as lead advisers to provide buy-side support, and raise funding for, the Eclipse acquisition.

Following a comprehensive review of Eclipse, we presented the opportunity to a broad range of potential funders. We secured and negotiated an innovative combined debt package from HSBC and Tosca Debt Capital. This comprised asset-backed, revolving credit and junior debt facilities. The acquisition and simultaneous re-finance of GI was funded purely using debt finance.

In parallel, we managed the broader aspects of the process, including financial, commercial and legal due diligence and transaction documentation. This deal represents a significant step for GI Solutions. The enlarged group is now double in size and generates revenue of over £80m and profit of £7m. GI is now one of the most significant players in the UK marketing services sector. The complementary nature of this deal was demonstrated by the owner of Eclipse continuing in his capacity as MD of the business.

He has also joined the enlarged group Board and invested in acquiring equity. We also supported GI identify and source a new group CFO who joined the business pre-completion.

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What our client said
"Catalyst first got to know our business during a strategic options review and then supported us through our MBO. Leading our fundraising for this acquisition, their knowledge of the market was first class. They added significant value and helped us secure a great result." Patrick Headley, CEO
GI Soltutions Group