Osprey Consulting Services sold to TP Group

BCMS has advised the shareholders of Osprey Consulting Services Ltd (Osprey) on its sale to the AIM-listed TP Group (AIM: TPG). Osprey is a privately-owned consultancy company whose business centres around safety and mission-critical air space management and regulation in the defence, space and the emerging urban air mobility markets.

Osprey was founded in 2006 and has 40 consultants operating from offices in Bristol, Lincoln, Farnborough and Northallerton, Yorkshire. The business is equally split between military and civilian aerospace, and while Osprey does business with international customers, all revenues are currently derived from the UK. This presents an opportunity for future growth as part of an international group.

“BCMS does what it says on the tin. They ‘got’ Osprey as a company and subsequently drove the sale process expertly” – Jon Arden, Osprey

TP Group, which has acquired the entire issued share capital of Osprey, delivers complex equipment, software and services for mission, business and safety critical applications in defence, space and energy sectors. With more than 400 people in 6 European countries, it serves global customers through long-term contracts. The Group’s shares have been traded on AIM since July 2001.

Osprey is complementary to TP Group, delivering specialist consulting and software services to the highly regulated and safety-critical civil and military aerospace markets. In addition, Osprey’s customer base complements TP Group’s existing relationships in the defence industry, and the consultancy is currently working on a range of leading-edge projects, including control of airspace for unmanned aircraft, which is aligned with TP Group’s activities in autonomous routing technologies.

Transaction perspectives

At the time of the transaction, which completed in summer 2020, Phil Cartmell, Chief Executive Officer of TP Group, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Osprey into the Group. This transaction extends our presence and capabilities in the military and civil aerospace sectors, providing the enlarged group with additional growth opportunities in the UK and internationally. Safety management of airspace will continue to be of paramount importance despite the reduction in flight volumes brought about by COVID-19, and Osprey make a key contribution in this field.

“We are also excited by Osprey’s innovation potential as new markets open up in the management of airspace regulations, particularly around renewable energy installations and the government’s support of space launch facilities in the UK.”

Jon Arden, Osprey Managing Director and one of the founders of the business, said: “When Osprey made the decision to enter the business sale process, we knew we needed expert, external advice to achieve our goals. It is after all, the basis of our own business model as a consultancy. It wasn’t a decision we took lightly: we spent six months choosing an M&A advisor, and I can say now that engaging BCMS was the best decision we could have made.

“Selling a business brings multiple challenges, and there is simply no way we could have done this on our own. From the outset, Jim Whitaker and the BCMS team really listened to us, making the effort to understand our business and our expectations. BCMS does what it says on the tin. They ‘got’ Osprey as a company and subsequently drove the sale process expertly, just as they promised they would. As our lead advisor, Jim was always there with advice, support – including many late-night calls – giving us the confidence we needed throughout.”

“We’re excited to become part of the TP Group – it’s a huge opportunity for the business we founded to grow and evolve as part of a globally focused, forward-thinking organisation.”

Deal insights

Jim Whitaker, Associate Director at BCMS, commented: “In terms of cross-pollination of clients, expansion of services, and as a solid platform for continued growth, the synergies between both businesses are clear. This transaction demonstrates that even in the current economic climate, the best outcomes can be achieved for motivated buyers and sellers.

“For BCMS, Osprey proved to be a model client: committed to our competitive process, and demonstrating many of the key characteristics buyers prize in a target business. Osprey services a blue-chip client portfolio, with excellent revenue split between civilian and military services, and its team of consultants is defined by a reputation for quality and specialist industry expertise. Osprey’s niche skillset – including market-leading experience in Instrument Flight Procedures (IFP) – is a clear competitive differentiator in this market.

“No surprise, then, that Osprey attracted a willing pool of buyers, and international acquisition interest, with the dynamic AIM-listed TP Group emerging as the ideal acquirer to move our clients’ business forward. It’s been a genuine pleasure to work alongside the TP Group – and of course Jon Arden and everyone at Osprey – on this successful outcome. We wish all parties the very best for the future.”

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