London-based Montagu Private Equity acquired a majority stake in Funeral Services Partnership (FSP), a leading UK funeral services provider, from August Equity LLP.

August Equity originally acquired FSP in September 2009 as part of a buy-and-build strategy. The group has been hugely successful in attracting high quality independent businesses with over 100 branches joining since the initial investment, including 47 acquired last year from LM Funerals.

FSP has grown from 24 branches to 131 today and has increased its profitability six-fold, says August.

Founded in 2007 by CEO Phillip Greenfield, FSP is today the third largest funeral services provider in the UK, with over 130 branches throughout the country. The company has a staff of nearly 500 and oversees approximately 10,500 funerals per year.

FSP’s model is based on acquiring independent funeral directors, retaining their heritage – a major asset – and putting in investment, training and improved processes in order to build a brand with a reputation for absolute reliability, trust and quality.

Montagu will partner with Phillip Greenfield and his management team to grow the business by making further acquisitions, via organic expansion and through continued operational enhancements.

“Over the last decade, FSP has grown into a leading player in funeral services. We want to continue to grow our presence in the UK market and we are confident that Montagu will be great partners given their previous experience of the sector,” said FSP’s Greenfield.

“We are proud to be investing in FSP, a strong brand name in a sector we know well. FSP provides important and essential services, and we will work hard with Phillip and his team to help build the business further in the years to come,” said Alex Dabbous, director at Montagu Private Equity.

“FSP has been an excellent investment for our investors and is a great example of our ability to creatively build market-leading businesses of scale in fragmented markets,’ said August Equity managing partner, Philip Rattle.

Montagu has invested in hundreds of companies, across many different industry sectors, since it was founded in 1968. It has €4bn in assets under management. The firm currently focuses exclusively on management buyouts where it can back strong incumbent CEOs who want to acquire the business they run, usually from a corporate owner or a founder. The firm typically in companies worth €100 million to €1 billion or more. Montagu has a fund of €2.75 billion to invest. The firm is headquartered in London and has additional offices in Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Paris, France; Warsaw, Poland; and Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

August Equity was founded in 2001 and is based in London. The firm invests in small and medium-sized businesses whose headquarters are in the UK. The firm often starts smaller than other private equity firms, and builds its businesses through acquisition and organic growth.

Photo: Phillip Greenfield, CEO, Funeral Services Partnership.

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