Wales’ largest research agency gets insight into future with funding for management buy-out from Finance Wales
A £220,000 loan from Finance Wales and funding from Bibby
Financial Services has helped finance a management buy-out (MBO) of
one of Wales’ largest and best-known marketing and social research
Finance Wales’ loan has enabled long-standing directors Fiona
McAllister and Chris Timmins to buy Beaufort Research (Beaufort),
the Cardiff-based agency the pair have been running since company
founder, Peter Stolle retired in 2007.
Established in 1984, the bilingual research agency has a track
record of providing high quality quantitative and qualitative
consumer, business-to-business and social research.
Beaufort’s clients include BBC Wales, S4C, Brains, the
Intellectual Property Office and the Welsh Government. It has
recently won high profile contracts to undertake the 2015-2016
Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales’ visitor profile study and
the 2015-16 Arts in Wales survey for the Arts Council in Wales
andhas been awarded a place on the new BBC research framework,
which will provide the Corporation with insight into its audiences
for the next two years.
Managing Director and new co-owner Fiona McAllister sees the
management buy-out as the beginning of a new chapter for the
business: “We’ve built up an excellent reputation over the last
thirty years and have many loyal and satisfied customers who value
the knowledge and expertise of the Beaufort team. Over two
thirds of our customers have been with us for three years or more
and we have a 99 percent customer satisfaction rate.
“We have a sixteen-strong team at our Cardiff headquarters as
well as hundreds of field staff based throughout the UK.
While Wales is a key market for us and we can offer a seamless
bilingual service, we also plan to expand our client base in the
rest of the UK.”
The management team were advised by Richard Coppock of RCA
Corporate Finance and Nigel Greenaway from Greenaway Scott.
Richard Coppock commented: "It is important to the future of
the Welsh economy that companies are retained and headquartered in
Wales. This management buyout is an good illustration of how
a combination of a quality management team and innovative funders
can achieve this objective."
Deputy Fund Manager, Beth Cousins and succession specialist
Chris Griffiths worked with Fiona and Chris to structure the
loan. Commenting on the service provided by Finance Wales,
Chris Timmins said: “Beth and Chris’s knowledge and expertise
helped us to structure a loan to complete the buyout which
puts us in a strong position to achieve our plans to grow the
business. We’re looking forward to taking advantage of Finance
Wales’ on-going support and advice as we expand.”
Beaufort's team includes researchers with public and
private-sector as well as agency and client-side experience. As
well as carrying out tailored research projects for clients, the
company runs a unique set of Omnibus surveys for Wales – among
adults, Welsh speakers, children and businesses – giving quick and
cost-effective access to these four audiences.
Commenting on Finance Wales’ investment, Deputy Fund Manager,
Beth Cousins added: “Beaufort Research is a respected Welsh
research company with a loyal workforce, strong client base and an
impressive track record established over many years. It’s an
excellent example of a successful, established business with all
the right ingredients to flourish under new ownership.
“Fiona and Chris are both experienced directors who have worked
hard to build up the business since its founder retired 8 years
ago. Finance Wales’ loan has provided them with a sound basis
on which to continue expanding and developing the business.”
The value of the UK market research sector has been estimated at
around £3.2 billion.