Charterhouse yesterday sold its stake in the world’s biggest environmental consultancy to Canadian mega fund Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System (Omers) in a deal worth $1.7bn (£1.1bn).
Omers’ private equity arm (OPE) will buy Charterhouse’s 55 per cent investment in Environmental Resources Management (ERM), which is headquartered in London with 162 other offices around the world.
ERM’s 600 partners – who own about 45 per cent – will re-invest in the new deal alongside the Alberta Investment Management Corporation, which is co-investing with Omers.
“This is our sixth investment since launching OPE’s European operation in 2009 and brings our capital deployed in Europe on behalf of our members to over CA$2bn,” said Mark Redman, head of Europe at Omers’ private equity unit.
The deal is the second collaboration between Omers and Alberta after the duo bought cinema chain Vue Entertainment for £935m in 2013.
Both ERM and Vue were so-called off-market deals, with Omers approaching Charterhouse directly with an offer instead of waiting for it to raise the for sale sign.
Omers had previously looked into buying ERM in 2011 when it was sold to Charterhouse by its then-owners Bridgepoint.
ERM, which has around 5,000 staff and was founded in 1977, has a three per cent share of the global environmental assessment market. It offers services to sectors such as oil and gas, mining and manufacturing.
Charterhouse will chalk up a 2.4 times multiple on the sale.
BEHIND THE DEAL: GORDON MILNE – ALLEN & OVERY
1 Milne is a corporate partner at the Magic Circle law firm and has previously worked with Omers on the Vue Entertainment takeover deal.
2 His other private equity clients include Apax Partners, Exponent Private Equity and Charterhouse.
3 He was educated at the University of Strathclyde and was admitted as a solicitor in Scotland in 1999 and England and Wales in 2002.
A&O corporate partner Stephen Lloyd, banking partner Jonathan Brownson and antitrust partner Alasdair Balfour also worked on various aspects of the deal alongside Milne, who was assisted by senior associates Peter Banks and Brodie Same. RBC’s Guy Mullin-Henderson offered corporate finance advice to Omers while Ian Scott at EY led due diligence.