Private equity in £203m bid for London-listed tech consultant Kin and Carta

Kin and Carta, which advises businesses on technology strategies, is the latest company to be targeted by private equity predators

Private equity has swooped on yet another London-listed company, dealing a fresh blow to the stock market.

Apax Partners has agreed to buy tech consultancy Kin and Carta for £203million.

Kin and Carta, which advises businesses on their technology strategies, is the latest company to have been targeted by private equity predators.

After a wave of so-called ‘pandemic plundering’ during the pandemic, bidders are still circling, with moves in recent weeks including the £143million purchase of Finsbury Food by Dbay Advisors and a ‘semi-hostile’ bid for waste management firm Renewi, worth £636million, from Australian giant Macquarie. 

Takeover: Private equity firm Apax Partners has agreed to buy tech consultancy Kin and Carta for £203m

Kin and Carta’s board has recommended that shareholders approve the offer from Apax.

The offer values the 60-year-old company at 110p per share, which is a 41 per cent premium on Tuesday’s closing price of 78p.

Shares soared 39.7 per cent, or 31p, to 109p yesterday.

‘Technology companies are already few and far between on the London Stock Exchange so the prospect of the global digital transformation company Kin and Carta being bought out will be another blow,’ said Susannah Streeter, the head of markets at Hargreaves Lansdown.

‘Its shares had fallen by more than 75 per cent since highs reached in November 2021 amid the pandemic enthusiasm for digitally focused firms. 

With shares languishing at lows, and the pound also losing value against the dollar, the company is clearly attractive for Apax.

‘It’s seizing the opportunity to strike while the price is right, and sterling is weak.’

The deal is expected to be complete in the first three months of next year.

Apax said the deal will ‘improve the potential for value creation compared to the status quo as a listed business’ and allow it to make better investments.

Kin and Carta, which was previously known as St Ives, was founded in 1964 and started out as a printing group before diversifying into marketing services.

The company listed in London back in 1985.

In 2018, it ditched the St Ives name and its printing operations after it decided to focus on becoming a digital transformation consultancy.

Kin and Carta employs 1,800 workers, and has its headquarters in London and a US base in Chicago.

Chairman John Kerr said: ‘We believe the offer by Apax represents an excellent opportunity for the company to accelerate ambitious growth plans.’