Baird snaps up recruitment business

Mid-market firm Baird Capital Partners Europe has invested £13 million in UK recruitment consultancy Aston Carter.

London-based buyout firm Baird Capital Partners Europe has bought a majority stake in Aston Carter, a UK recruitment consultancy business, for £13 million. The investment comes out of Baird’s seventh fund, which has £200 million of firepower and is more than 75 percent invested.

Aston Carter provides recruitment services to primarily blue-chip global clients including Barclays Capital, Morgan Stanley, KPMG and Ernst & Young. The business, which generated sales of £78 million in 2006, has offices in London, Stockholm, Dublin, Brussels and Singapore.

The recruitment sector has been attracting more and more attention from the private equity market. UK private equity deals in the sector amounted to more than £266 million in 2006 – more than ten times the 2005 total, according to IE Consulting.

Chris Harper, director at Baird, said: “Companies in the recruitment sector have impressive growth potential and Aston Carter in particular has expanded very quickly since its inception in 1997.”

Baird’s previous investments in the sector include Capital Consulting, a UK recruitment process outsourcer, Public Recruitment Group, a public sector recruitment company, and Teams BS, a temporary recruitment business.

Baird Capital Partners Europe is the UK-based buyout business of Baird Private Equity. Founded in 1971, it backs mid-market companies in the business services and manufactured products sectors. Baird Private Equity has raised and managed $1.8 billion of capital.