Opportunities in the field of Corporate Development (M&A) are on the rise within companies that are supported by investors. This growth is driven by investment funds choosing strategies centred around acquiring and building businesses to promote expansion. These positions offer an intriguing blend of strategic planning, deal-making and day-to-day operations in a dynamic setting with a specific industry focus.
Best of both worlds

The growing emphasis on increasing growth and creating value in companies held within investment portfolios has resulted in a more active approach to mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and increased collaboration between investment funds and the companies they invest in. To make this happen, there's a need for someone who has a strong connection to both the investment fund and the portfolio company and possesses the skills to steer the process of acquiring and integrating new companies. This dynamic environment offers excellent opportunities for individuals who excel in analytical thinking and have a knack for strategic expansion.

For those interested in non-traditional investment roles, these M&A positions within portfolio companies are an appealing choice. They are well-suited for financial professionals who appreciate the rapid pace of deal-making in the private equity sector, but also desire to be more directly involved in the day-to-day strategic and operational decision-making of the companies they work with.

Growing opportunities

We primarily place candidates from Big 4 or smaller M&A firms. Consulting backgrounds are rare in our focus, while candidates from large investment banks also occur, but less frequently due to compensation expectations and their preference for moving directly to the investment fund. 
We've successfully placed candidates from big banks in cases involving large-cap private equity investors. 

In the last 12 months, we’ve seen a growing number of professionals entering various sectors, with a particular emphasis on healthcare, industrial, and general business services. The services industry in particular presents a ripe opportunity for buy-and-build consolidation, enabling cost-efficiency improvements through streamlined processes.

While healthcare buy-and-build cases once dominated the landscape, recent developments have introduced a broader spectrum of sectors, encompassing solar panels, sewage cleaning, residential property maintenance, claims management, refrigeration technology, and construction software. This diversification marks a notable shift from the healthcare-centric focus of a few years ago, which included dental, orthopaedic, dermatology, veterinary, and ophthalmology roll-ups.

What's the route in?

Individuals transition into these positions from various backgrounds, including investment banking M&A and private equity. For those coming from investment funds, it's an ideal chance to further specialise in a sector they are passionate about. These roles are accessible to individuals at different career stages, ranging from junior to mid-level and even senior positions, accommodating even highly experienced investors.

There is a high demand for experienced professionals in this sector because companies are focused on portfolio performance and require exceptional individuals to achieve the growth objectives set by private equity firms. A portfolio role is an appealing choice, not only for individuals who may have missed opportunities in the banking sector, but also for those seeking a more entrepreneurial, dynamic, and hands-on environment with substantial responsibilities and ownership right from the beginning.

Corporate M&A experience is another viable path. Prior sector experience isn't always necessary; technical and soft skills, team compatibility, and a proactive, business-winning approach are key. Some candidates miss opportunities to enter PE directly by staying with their current employer for too long, but they can still transition to a PE-backed role.

Many candidates contemplate Management Buy-ins as an alternative to starting their own companies or transitioning to private equity. However, the perception of a lack of entrepreneurial experience can be a barrier when coming directly from the banking sector. Consequently, they view portfolio roles as a valuable stepping stone.

Long-term prospects and compensation

It’s common for people in these positions to stay with the portfolio company post-ivestment, taking a step up towards a bigger platform and staying operational, but with the experience you gain taking a similar role in another portfolio is also an option. Furthermore, this route could lead to an investing role within a private equity fund following a similar strategy.

The compensation for these roles has increased, offering a compelling blend of improved work-life balance, engaging work and an attractive financial package.

If you wish to learn more about such opportunities across the DACH region please reach out to Isabel Stauber, Lead Consultant and Anna Goetzl, Research Associate. For opportunities in the UK please reach out to Annabelle Bates.

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