HIG seals exit from the Engine Group

The firm has sold its stake to Chicago-based private equity shop Lake Capital

Lake Capital has acquired the Engine Group, a communications agency, for £100 million ($169 million; €126 million).

The deal represents an exit for current private equity shareholder HIG Europe, which made an initial investment of £32.5 million to fund the company’s expansion into new jurisdictions, including potential acquisitions in the USA, China and Brazil, back in 2010. That deal also gave Engine the ability to draw down an additional £30 million from HIG if required.

HIG were unable to respond to a request for comment by press time.

Engine’s 2013 financial results revealed that revenue was up 10 percent to £100.1 million, while EBITDA was up 14 percent to £13 million. The group has 850 employees across 13 businesses including PR firm MHP, WCRS and social media agency Jam.

Under Lake Capital’s ownership, Engine will form a partnership with some of Lake’s current investments. ORC International, the market research and business intelligence firm, and Trailer Park, the entertainment and content marketing agency will join Engine under a new Engine Group holding company – although each business will retain its individual brand.

“We have a proven history of working with talented and entrepreneurial people and growing businesses in the sector both organically and through acquisition,” Terry Graunke, chairman and co-founder of Lake Capital, said in a statement. “We are planning that Engine, ORC and Trailer Park form the basis of a major, independent global force in marketing services and communications.”

Lake Capital typically commits $50 million to $75 million of equity to service-based companies across a range of industries.