Welcome to Cormorant Partners

Established in 1998, Cormorant is an independent advisory firm based in Mayfair, London, the centre of the venture capital and private equity industry in the UK. We work with privately owned companies to scale and exit their businesses. We advise across many industries, but with particular focus on the media and technology sectors.
Specifically, we:
  • Advise owner directors of private companies, acting as their “critical friend”
  • Build long term retained relationships, based on impartial and objective advice
  • Focus intensively on furthering the interests of our clients
  • Help owners to maximize the embedded value in their businesses
  • Advise on business strategy, acquisitions, capital structure and exits
We are typically appointed two to five years ahead of a prospective sale or exit. We then work with the Client to:
  • Review the business from a purchaser’s point of view
  • Develop a clear sale or exit strategy; This may involve acquisitions, disposals or re-organisations, capital raisings and balance sheet re-organisations as well as general commercial strategy and corporate finance advice
  • Execute the agreed strategy
  • Market the business to prospective purchasers
  • Manage the formal sale process
By working on a long term basis well before the anticipated sale or exit date, we assist clients to maximise the price achieved in the eventual transaction.
We also advise retained clients on corporate structure, capital raising and general mergers & acquisitions, within the context of strategic development of the business:
  • We are highly selective – we only ever advise a few clients at any one time
  • We never undertake assignments where there could be any possibility of a conflict with an existing client
  • We are a pure advisory firm so we have no internal conflicts
  • We are relationship not transaction focused

What our clients say

Case Studies

How Cormorant assists clients to achieve their goals

Brunel Group Holdings Limited – www.brunel.com

The Brunel GroupCORMORANT ADVISES ON SALE OF THE BRUNEL GROUP TO EUROPCAR TO BUILD GLOBAL MOBILITY PLATFORM

Cormorant has advised Brunel, the ride-hailing business, on its sale to the Europcar Group, the European leader in vehicle rental services and a leading player in mobility markets. Originating in London in 1982, Brunel has built a high quality chauffeur and executive drive service across a range of corporate markets, including investment banks, law, advisory firms and financial institutions, using its strong technology focus. Brunel processes over 20,000 vehicle movements each month, executing transactions on behalf of clients in 480 cities in 75 countries around the world.

Cormorant was retained in early 2014 as strategic adviser following the sudden death of the company’s founder. Strategic reviews of both the operational development opportunities for the business and the changing industry environment were undertaken. This resulted in a two year programme to accelerate organic growth and also create the platform for a possible trade sale. Cormorant subsequently advised on the sale process which resulted in Brunel’s sale to Europcar in August 2016.

Following the sale Brunel continues to operate as a separate business led by Anthony Edwards, the founder’s son, and is able to capitalise on the infrastructure and buying power of Europcar to extend its offering nationally and internationally. Nick Morant has been retained as Board Adviser at Brunel post its acquisition.

Sprint Enterprise Technology Limited - www.sprintenterprise.co.uk

Sprint Enterprise TechnologySprint, established in 2011, provides technology solutions to wealth management advisers. Its Fastrak software, specifically designed for financial advisers, paraplanners and back office administration, is the first cloud-based technology solution that aggregates investment data from across wrap platforms and non-platform assets, back office and fund providers in a user friendly front-end system. 

Cormorant has advised Sprint since its inception, on both strategy and capital raising, including on the acquisition of a 15% strategic stake in the company in 2014 by Integrated Financial Holdings Ltd, owner of Transact, the UK's leading wrap service provider.

Verrus(UK) Limited - www.paybyphone.co.uk

Pay By PhoneOver five years the European business grew to 35 corporate clients, 1.6 million registered users and 900,000 transactions per month. The business was merged with the Canadian company in March 2010 and the combined entity was sold to PayPoint plc, a UK FTSE 250 company, for a consideration of £33m.

As retained advisers from Verrus’ incorporation, Cormorant advised on the structure of the original UK joint venture company, as well as sourcing the equity investment (utilising the EIS scheme) & debt required to fund the business.

Cormorant also negotiated the merger of the UK & Canadian companies on behalf of the UK shareholders, as well as negotiating the simultaneous trade sale of the combined group to PayPoint plc, a UK quoted group, for a consideration of over £33m. PayPoint had been identified as a possible trade buyer early on, & relationships were built and maintained with them which facilitated the eventual sale process. In the actual sale process a number of bids were also received from leading UK & US VCs for the group - which created competitive bidding and helped maximise the sale price achieved.

The sale was a great result - representing for the UK business a price of 68x the last year's earnings & 4x sales. Original investors made 10x their money (tax free) in just over four years.

Market Place Data Limited

Market Place Data Limited is a specialist provider of time critical market data to information technology companies. With proprietary information sources and specialist software programmes, the Company provided mission critical information to its clients.

Cormorant advised the shareholders on the cross border sale of the whole of the issued share capital of the company to Thompson Reuters. The sale successfully completed in October 2010 despite the difficult market circumstances at the time.

Mackley Holdings Limited - www.mackley.co.uk

Mackley Holdings LimitedMackley Holdings Limited is a third generation family owned civil engineering firm established over 80 years ago with over 150 employees & £20m turnover. The family also owns substantial property interests.

Over a five year period Cormorant, acting as retained strategic adviser to the board, advised and assisted in the development & execution of a long term business strategy which resulted in the re-organisation of the Group’s balance sheet as well as advising on inter-generational ownership and management planning. Cormorant also advised on the acquisition of Intermarine Limited.

Perry Bishop and Chambers Limited - www.perrybishop.co.uk

Perry Bishop and Chambers LimitedPerry Bishop and Chambers are an independent firm of Chartered Surveyors and Estate Agents offering a complete property service in the Cotswolds.

Over a five year period Cormorant acted as retained adviser to the Board on both general business planning and corporate development as well as advising on four successful acquisitions over the period

Travtel Leisure Group Limited

Travtel was a diversified hotel & travel operator based in the Channel Islands. Following the sudden untimely death of the founder, Cormorant advised the Trustees of the estate on their long term corporate strategy specifically recommending divestment of the non-core and unprofitable activities.

Cormorant then executed the disposal of the business travel division, the tour operator business and the leisure travel division. Cormorant also introduced new bankers and assisted in the renegotiation of bank facilities. This enabled the Trustees to focus on the development and refurbishment of the group’s principal property asset, a freehold boutique hotel in Jersey.

The team

Extensive experience as both owners and advisers in building private companies

Nicholas Morant

Nicholas Morant

Nick founded and is Managing Partner of Cormorant. Nick has extensive experience as both corporate financier and principal investor in the venture capital field, in growing businesses both organically and by acquisition, and a track record of successful exits. He has acted as a director for a number of public and private companies.

Nick was previously an investment banker with inter alia Flemings and JP Morgan. After service as an officer in the British Army he graduated with a 2:1 (Hons) from Bristol University, a postgraduate diploma in law from City University, London and also qualified as a barrister.

The Marque
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Tanya Bird

Tanya Bird

Tanya has expertise in strategy, marketing and communications.  Her experience and career interests include healthcare, retail, horticulture, the environment and leisure industries.
For six years she was a Main Board Trustee of Kew Gardens, a £50m annual turnover Non Departmental Public Body, with a particular focus on strategy, resource allocation and commercial development.  She also served as a Director and then Chairman of Kew Enterprises, encompassing retailing, catering, licensing and events.
Prior to that Tanya was Head of Development and Marketing, as well as periods as Acting Director, at The Natural History Museum, with 1.8m paying customers each year.  She was closely involved in the restructuring of the museum and fundraising arm into one cohesive structure and strengthening the Museum’s brand.
Her earlier career included investing a specialist global equity health fund for Lombard Odier, a private Swiss Bank, focused on the ageing population and AIDS and viral disease.  During this period, she was also involved in two biotechnology start-ups.
Tanya originally studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University and has an MBA from Said Business School, University of Oxford.  She began her working career on the graduate training scheme at Shell.
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Peter Barton

Peter Barton

After National Service as an officer in the Oxford & Bucks (later a Captain in the London Rifle Brigade) and Oxford University (Magdalen), Peter Barton spent his executive career in the City, first as a corporate lawyer at Travers Smith and then as an investment banker, with nine years at Lehman Brothers followed by four at Robert Fleming & Co, which he joined as Chief Operating Officer. 
For the last seventeen years he has held various non-executive positions, including Deputy Chairman of Alliance & Leicester plc and Chairman of The Guinness Partnership.  
He is currently Chairman of Howard de Walden Estates Ltd, and is a director of Jupiter US Smaller Companies PLC and easyGroup Holdings Ltd.  His pro bono appointments have included membership of the Oxford University Audit & Scrutiny Committee and the Royal Commission for the 1851 Exhibition Finance Committee and the Chairmanship  of the Leonard Ingrams Foundation. 
He is currently a trustee of the Stelios Philanthropic Foundations in Monaco and the UK.  He was High Sheriff of Greater London in 2000, is a Deputy Lieutenant (retired) of Greater London and President of his local Branch of The Royal British Legion.
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Camilla Hill

Camilla Hill

Camilla is an experienced Executive Assistant who has worked for a broad spectrum of companies and brings strong organisational skills to the team.

She started her secretarial career at the BBC, moving from there to the Foreign Office and on to TOTAL Oil GB Ltd. More recently she has worked as a Project Manager within the marketing and events arena.
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Stephen Foale

Stephen Foale, FCCA

A qualified accountant with over 25 years’ experience. He was previously at Trafalgar House plc where he was Assistant to the Group CEO for Acquisitions and Investments.

More recently he has been Finance Director to three listed PLCs, involved in two IPOs as well as numerous mergers & acquisitions and fund raising exercises..
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Ted Townsend

Ted Townsend

Ted is an experienced strategy and corporate development consultant. Starting his career with Bain & Company and Lazard Brothers, he gained his MBA from INSEAD, and then went into corporate M&A for the B2B side of Reed Elsevier, helping them move their magazines online.

He was responsible for the successful development of Estates Gazette interactive, the commercial property information service. He has particular expertise in the publishing, software and healthcare markets.
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Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor

Mark qualified as a Chartered Accountant and was formerly an equity research analyst at HSBC.

He subsequently founded an independent research company, which was later successfully sold to a quoted business services group. Mark specialises in assisting companies with their acquisition strategy, in sourcing target companies and advising on deal structures.
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Marie Ekerholm

Marie Ekerholm

Marie originally qualified as a chartered accountant with PwC, but subsequently founded and recently sold a successful e-tail business and since then has supported over 50 companies across many verticals such as high-tech, creative & media, retail & e-commerce, services and food & entertainment.

Her passion is to help start-ups and SMEs go through change, to empower business owners through helping build commercial, financial and operational structures to ensure sustainable high growth. She also has a wide network of contacts and part of what she does is to skilfully connect resources with skills gaps, investors with entrepreneurs and connecting partnerships, channels and customers.
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In The News

Keep up to date with latest news and press releases

Nick Morant – an unlikely tech entrepreneur

CouttsNot every technology pioneer is a young computer wizard straight out of Cambridge

Former British Army officer Nick Morant does not fit the usual stereotype of a tech entrepreneur, but he took his mobile payments company from start-up to a widely publicised £33m exit in just six years. His tech ventures have ranged from publishing to software and fintech and he spends much of his time advising growing businesses in the sector.

While tech entrepreneurs are often thought of as young graduates brimming with ideas and technical know-how but with little commercial experience, Nick is very different. He spent two years in the army when he left school before training as a barrister and then working as an investment banker in the Far East, specialising in technology.

At the age of 37 he decided to go it alone and started his first tech business in the publishing sector. In 2004 – three years before the first iPhone was launched – he took a calculated risk by licensing technology from Canada that allowed motorists to pay for parking using their mobile phones. While making payments using mobiles was uncommon back then, his timing was perfect and the use of smartphones grew at an astonishing rate.

Nick’s enterprises haven’t always been focused on technology – he has, for instance, had interests in a chain of garden centres that floated on the AIM Market and a property management company that sold for £80m in 2014 – but his fascination with the sector has gradually narrowed his focus. He is one of the founders of Sprint Enterprise Technology, a fintech software company that provides cloud-based SAAS integrated data applications for financial advisers.

“I’ve always liked a genuinely disruptive technology, rather than something that is super new and different,” he explains. “If you showed me the next Google, I couldn’t tell you whether it’s going to work or not. But with something like car parking, you already have a very large global market with millions of people parking cars every day. If you have a widget that does that service better, then you’ve got a very good chance.”

He also draws on his expertise to help other entrepreneurs build, scale and then exit their businesses through his advisory company Cormorant Partners. He runs the business with Tanya Bird, who has a broad commercial/marketing background, with a bioscience twist.  She was formerly at Shell, a Fund Manager for private Swiss bank, Lombard Odier and a Trustee of Kew Gardens and Chair of Kew Ventures.

Cormorant was brought in to advise the management team of Brunel, a company offering chauffeur services to blue chip clients, after the owner tragically died. While on the face of it Brunel doesn’t sound like a tech company, it relies on sophisticated software to ensure that cars can be booked quickly and easily in 480 cities across 75 countries. Cormorant spent three years working with the management, culminating in a successful sale of the business to Europcar last year. Nick remains an adviser to the board of Brunel.

He chose to bank with Coutts after the bank was recommended by a business associate who recognised the strength of our offering for entrepreneurs. He explains: “I must have been banking with Coutts for 10 or 15 years. They understand entrepreneurs and I’ve met some other interesting people through them. There is a value in the network, quite apart from the banking value.

“I don’t think the big banks now understand entrepreneurs and wealth creators, because people like me at any point in time have most of their money tied up in a complicated range of businesses, often illiquid. You need more intelligent banking for that because it doesn’t obviously fit into particular boxes. Coutts has a big entrepreneurs team and I think they genuinely understand that.”

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Contact Us

If you have any queries or would like further information, please complete the form or contact us as below.

Contact details

+44 (0)20 3700 6342

info@cormorantpartnersllp.com

Cormorant Partners LLP
8 St James’s Square
St James’s
London
SW1Y 4JU

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