Sovereign backed one of the UK's largest funeral services groups in what was a highly fragmented market. At the end of Sovereign's partnership, the group had more than doubled the number of branches and was the third largest group in its market in the UK.
With approximately 2,600 small independent funeral directors in the UK, Sovereign recognised that the funeral services sector was highly fragmented and presented a significant opportunity for consolidation.
In 2003, Sovereign acquired Laurel Management (subsequently LM Funerals) in an institutional buy-out. The business was the sixth largest group of funeral directors in the UK and already had some of the most respected and established funeral directors in the country - there was real opportunity to expand the group both organically and through acquisition.
During the time of the investment, the business grew from 29 sites to 65 through new acquisitions and branch openings. With Sovereign's support the management team successfully integrated the acquisitions, whilst respecting the names, traditions and heritages associated with individual sites, many of which have been serving their communities for several generations.
In addition to the acquisitions and new branch openings, a programme of investing in the Group, upgrading the funeral fleet and refurbishing existing branches was implemented. As part of the development, LM Funerals developed its own M&A team focused on consolidating the Group’s position and extending its geographic reach.
At exit, LM Funerals had grown to become the third largest group of funeral directors in the UK.
The backing and guidance we received from Sovereign helped us both to grow the business and to create a strong Buy & Build platform from which to develop.
Deborah Kemp / CEO (2010–2015)