3i exits Coutts Consulting

The firm has made a £40m gain on the sale of the UK-based consulting firm it acquired in 1999.

3i has completed the sale of Coutts Consulting, the European organisational consultancy firm, for a fee of around £72m. The deal represents a considerable gain for 3i, which led the £32m MBO at Coutts in 1999.

Right Management Consultants, a US management consultancy firm based in Philadelphia, confirmed in January that it had entered a preliminary agreement with 3i regarding the sale of Coutts. The sale was believed to be conditional on finding adequate financing to cover the large debts accumulated by Coutts under 3i's stewardship. Right has proposed paying a mixture of cash, purchase price notes and debt for the company.

During 3i's ownership Coutts has increased turnover from about £42m at the end of 1998 to about £63 million for 2001. Coutts CEO, Andy McRae, said the deal would enable the company to continue its growth and development strategy.

Coutts was taken private in a management buyout in 1999 when the company’s share price valued the company at only £19m.