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Waterland is capable of rolling up just about anything. Why did it spend $100M on Cooper Parry?

A step-by-step analysis of the deal, including capital structure and target returns

Based in the Netherlands, Waterland is one of Europe’s most prolific mid-market private equity investors. Since being founded in 1999 Waterland has completed +/- 1,000 acquisitions, most of them bolt-ons. Waterland is a very versatile investor. 

Here’s a sample of Waterland’s platform deals announced since Covid:

  • Priory, a British mental healthcare chain

  • Leupold, a German folding carton manufacturer

  • Shape, a Danish app developer

Waterland’s Fund IX (€3.5B) seeks to “build an investment portfolio of 40-50 platform companies with sales in the range of €10-200M and with a typical equity investment of €10-50M per platform investment initially, and an additional €15-50M for add-ons”. 

40 to 50 PLATFORMS! 

Small HQ, big bandwidth (Waterland HQ in Bussum, the Netherlands)

So when in 2022 Waterland acquired Cooper Parry, thus joining the growing ranks of PE investors rolling up British accountancies (more on the industry’s appeal here), we knew something was afoot. 

Once we pulled up the filings, we were not disappointed with what we saw. 

According to PE Hub, at the outset Waterland had planned to grow Cooper Parry’s revenues 5X over 5 years (£44M to £250M), mostly through M&A. They are more than halfway there. An aggressive and complex incentive structure has certainly helped. We broke it down for you in the article. 

Additionally, we reviewed:

  1. Waterland’s rationale for investing in Cooper Parry

  2. Valuation

  3. Acquisition and ownership structure

  4. Capital structure

  5. Bolt-on M&A playbook

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