Inflexion preparing autumn sale of IT specialist FDM as value soars to £200m

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The Independent Online

An IT group that was taken private barely two years ago is set to go on the market for £200m – six times the price paid by its current owner.

Inflexion Private Equity bought Brighton-based FDM Group, which provides high calibre IT consultants to blue-chip companies like HSBC, Virgin Media and British Airways, for just £33m in early 2010.

However, the company has grown strongly since Inflexion delisted itfrom the junior Aim stock exchange, with operating profit up an impressive 50.9 per cent to £16.3m last year, off revenue that had increased 16.2 per cent to nearly £100m.

Major companies have been outsourcing much of their IT consultancy work to cut costs, which has led to FDM being recognised by a Sunday newspaper as one of the 20 fastest growing mid-market private equity-owned groups in the UK.

The Independent can reveal that Inflexion is close to hiring a corporate adviser to sell the business, with KPMG favourite to bag the work. Rivals believe the "Big Four" accoun-tant is already in place but sources close to the process insist a formal appointment has not been concluded.

It is unlikely that a sales process will start until after the summer. This Jubilee weekend, the European Football Championships and, in particular, the London 2012 Olympics are delaying a number of sales processes until at least September. August is typically a write-off for auctions as so many potential private equity and trade buyers, plus their City advisers, go on holiday then.

A private equity source said there was likely to be "an explosion" of deals in the autumn – at the weekend it emerged that Sir Ronald Cohen's Bridges Ventures has just hired boutique adviser McQueen to sell The Gym Group for north of £100m.

FDM has nine offices in sevencountries, including Germany andthe US. The firm is the UK's biggestIT graduate employer, hiring 1,000recently qualified people a year – four times as many as IBM and twice that of Accenture.