Outsourcing group formed in Bridgepoint double acquisition

Meta Management Services and QE are the two companies being merged.

Two leading British outsourcing companies, Meta Management Services and QE, revealed yesterday they will combine their operations to form “Aktrion”, a new group with combined annual sales of £22m (E35m). The merger follows the acquisition of both companies, completed yesterday, by Bridgepoint Capital for a consideration also totalling £22m.

The deal has a “bimbo” – or buy-in management buy-out – structure, with Keith Taylor, former chief operating officer at Admiral, appointed as CEO of the merged company, supported by the founder directors of Meta and QE who are “rolling over” their investments into Aktrion. Nigel Luckett, a former senior partner at professional services group KPMG, will become chairman.

London-based Meta Management Services provides integrated management and outsourcing services to the newspaper publishing industry, with customers including News International and Trinity Mirror. QE, based in the English Midlands, supplies quality control manpower resources to leading automotive manufacturers such as Jaguar and Land Rover.

Despite the fact Meta and QE currently operate in different markets, Bridgepoint Capital's Alan Payne insists the two operations will complement each other as part of a combined group.

“Both businesses reflect a common theme of supplying specialist employees who are capable of implementing specific processes, thereby allowing customers to focus on their core activities,” he said.

“Accordingly, although market leaders in their respective discreet industries there are significant similarities, particularly in central functions such as payroll management. This theme will be reflected in further acquisitions,” Mr Payne continued.

Bridgepoint Capital is a specialist in mid-market deals across Europe, and in 1999, invested £360m in 25 deals.