Our Corporate Finance team has successfully advised the shareholders of freight forwarding and logistics agents, ConneXion World Cargo, on the sale of the business to global transportation and logistics organisation, AIT Worldwide Logistics, Inc. (AIT).
Based in Heathrow, ConneXion World Cargo was set up in 1985 by Founder and Managing Director Alan Spencer and specialises in air and sea freight forwarding, UK transportation and import or export customs declarations. The business has grown to be an international organisation with five additional offices in Exeter, Manchester, Paris, Hong Kong and Canada.
The team were appointed by the shareholders to conduct a full sales process, which involved marketing the business to a select list of potential trade buyers both in the UK and internationally. A number of offers were received for the organisation, before terms were agreed with AIT, based in the USA and backed by private equity investors Quad-C Management, Inc., headquartered in Virginia.
AIT is an international transportation and logistics company employing nearly 1,000 dedicated logistics professionals in more than 50 offices around the world. With headquarters in Chicago, Amsterdam and Hong Kong, the board of directors were looking for a strategic acquisition to enter the UK market and expand their European operations. On further exploration, they identified clear similarities in service offering, clients and business culture – making ConneXion the ideal acquisition opportunity for the group.
The shareholders at ConneXion were looking for a buyer who presented the best fit for the longstanding staff base, who would nurture the existing client base and who understood the ConneXion values and culture. From the outset, the synergies between the two organisations were evident and both companies quickly established an excellent rapport to ensure a smooth transition. Following the transaction, the existing senior management team at ConneXion will be staying within the business and Managing Director Alan Spencer will retire, following a short transition phase.
“Our aim in this process was to ensure the business ownership was transferred to a party who were able to secure its future and offer opportunities to the business and the ConneXion Team that we alone could not. It became evident very early in the process that AIT’s ability to provide this would go way beyond our expectations. The new structure will provide an exciting future and benefits to the company, staff and customers alike. The team have been exemplary throughout the process, in identifying AIT to be so perfectly aligned and having the strategic focus for this acquisition, and have been supportive to the management team both pre and post completion.” Alan Spencer, Founder and majority owner of ConneXion World Cargo.
“ConneXion is an excellent fit for AIT, especially since their company culture is so similar to ours. The members of their management team have a long tenure with the business during which they have cultivated impressive long-lasting partnerships with their customers. They are a financially stable full-service provider with extensive local relationships and knowledge; we are very pleased that ConneXion’s global team of logistics professionals have joined AIT.” Ray Fennelly, Chief Information Officer, AIT Worldwide Logistics, Inc.
Selling a business
The team have been exemplary throughout the process, in identifying AIT to be so perfectly aligned and having the strategic focus for this acquisition, and have been supportive to the management team both pre and post completion.Alan Spencer Founder and majority owner of ConneXion World Cargo