ACS Case Study
Core to the culture of N4 Partners (“N4”) is to find partnership opportunities which go beyond an individual transaction or project. This approach establishes a working relationship which is long-standing and enables a deep understanding of our clients’ objectives, their businesses, and the markets that they operate in. Over the past 18 months, N4 have had the privilege of working with ACS Clothing (“ACS”) and its key majority shareholder Boost&Co, to deliver a wide-ranging project that involved establishing a close working relationship with the management team and shareholders.
ACS, founded in 1997, are Europe’s largest circular fashion hub. They provide an end-to-end fulfilment service to fashion retailers, brands and e-commerce platforms in the rental and renewal markets. The aim is to become the largest rental and renewal third-party logistics & reverse logistics (3PL+RL) service provider to the fashion industry in Europe.
The business operates in the highly topical “circular economy”, in an industry which faces heightened scrutiny due to the adverse environmental impact of current fashion consumption – the Ellen Macarthur Foundation estimate that one truckload of clothing ends up in landfill or is incinerated every second. ACS aim to change this, the business has sustainability at the heart of their operations and ACS have exceptional ESG credentials:
- B-Corp score of 150.9 achieved
- Net-zero target by 2023
- Member of the highly regarded Ellen MacArthur Foundation
- Real living wage employer
N4 were initially engaged to undertake a strategic review. This was an all-encompassing evaluation with discussions spanning the business plan, management’s objectives and how the shareholding and capital structure underpinned these. It was clear the business was at an exciting inflection point; ACS and the management team had a clear and unique opportunity and the presentation of this was going to be key in communicating the service offering to the market and meeting all stakeholders’ objectives.
Throughout these sessions, it was established that finding the right financial and strategic partner was important to fuel the next stage of growth and sit alongside the ACS team in driving its circular economy strategy. The shareholders and management team therefore engaged N4 to run a focused corporate finance process.
Following the strategic review and through refining the communication of the business plan, ACS were well positioned for investment. It became clear from N4’s targeted process, that Circularity Capital, a specialist private equity firm investing in businesses in the circular economy, were an ideal partner. N4 drove a structured corporate finance process to completion, culminating in:
- A £10m investment from Circularity Capital
- Boost&Co, continuing to hold a minority investment alongside Circularity Capital
- Fully supported and incentivised executive team
N4 have thoroughly enjoyed partnering with the team at ACS; from helping develop the strategy, to supporting the shareholders through the investment process. We wish the business all the success in the coming years . N4 Partners proudly continues to work closely with our portfolio of clients to deliver real value through our knowledge, networks, and experience.
Andrew Leslie, N4 Testimonial
It has been a thoroughly rewarding engagement working with ACS Clothing. We wish Andrew Rough, the executive team, Boost&Co, Circularity Capital and all stakeholders the best going forward. The business is in an incredibly exciting phase of its development and is truly leading the way for showcasing that prioritising its people and our planet, alongside profit, is a viable business model. N4 strive to partner with ambitious companies, funders, entrepreneurs, and executive teams – ACS as a case study, is a great example of what we can achieve together.
Andrew Rough, ACS Testimonial
We engaged N4 to help assist with the formalisation of our strategic objectives. Executive Management know their strategic objectives but often don’t document them fully to allow clear communication to their stakeholders. N4 provided an independent forum to challenge our objectives and support in the formalisation of our strategy document.
This one-off exercise led to a wider sales process which resulted in the investment of Circularity Capital to assist with the deliver of our strategic objectives. Throughout the sales process N4 provided excellent support. They clearly demonstrated that they understand the objectives of management in a sales process as well as maximising the return for shareholders.
The sales process involved long hours and often tense negotiation, N4 were incredibly professional throughout the journey and importantly they were fun to work with.