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M&A: Smart Building Consultancy Contollo Group Acquires Abacus

February 16, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

Smart building consultancy Contollo Group, backed by the private equity firm NorthEdge, has acquired Abacus. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This is M&A deal number 101 that Sustainable Tech Partner has covered so far in 2024. See all M&A deals involving sustainability, climate tech and green IT services listed here.

M&A: Smart Buildings and Net Zero Carbon Emission Focus

Contollo Group, based in the United Kingdom, is a newly formed smart building consultancy that assists customers with energy efficiency, carbon reduction and sustainability initiatives.

Ruth Percival, CEO, Contollo

Contollo CEO Ruth Percival previously was co-founder of Lasker Trap Capital Development, an investment firm that backed small and midsize businesses. Earlier, she held key posts at Fishawack Group of Companies, EA Technology and BDO.

Abacus, founded in 2007, is based in Manchester, United Kingdom. The cost management consultancy offers quantity surveying, project management, and technical services. Areas of expertise include due diligence, technical assurance, and fund monitoring to the construction sector. Abacus had 47 employees listed on LinkedIn in February 2024.

Smart Building Trends and Net Zero Strategies: Market Forecast

Contollo's smart building and Net Zero strategies surface at an opportune time. Cities and countries worldwide are launching regulations that will force building owners and real estate investors to decarbonize their commercial and residential assets.

Examples include the New York Local Law 97; a large buildings emissions law in Seattle, Washington; and a Future Homes Standard in the United Kingdom.

Demand for building energy management systems appears steady to strong, depending on which market forecast you potentially believe. For instance:

  • The global building automation and control system market will reach $168.8 billion by 2031, up from $87.3 billion in 2022, Transparency Market Research forecast. That's a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.9%, the firm said.
  • Spending on building management systems is expected to reach $19.25 billion in 2023, up from $6.65 billion in 2016. That's a 16.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during the forecast period, according to MarketsAndMarkets

The U.S. government also is assisting the market. For instance, the federal government plans to spend $250 million to help federal agencies implement net-zero building projects.

Contollo Group Acquires Abacus: Executive Perspectives

In a prepared statement about the Abacus acquisition, Contollo CEO Ruth Percival said: "We are thrilled to be partnering with the highly talented and experienced team from Abacus. Our mission is to build a market-leading, integrated building consultancy that helps our clients achieve their Net Zero ambitions in the built environment. This acquisition lays a robust foundation of experience and expertise for further acquisitions and growth.”

Abacus Co-founder Ellis Goodfellow shifts to chief commercial officer at Contollo.

Added Abacus Co-founder Ellis Goodfellow: “We have been planning the next stage of growth for Abacus over many months and have built a close working relationship with Ruth and the Contollo team. We have an ambitious growth plan and through this partnership we will be working collaboratively with other sector-leading consultancies. Mike Perry, Paul Jackson and I together with the Abacus team are excited to be part of the Contollo journey and look forward to achieving new milestones together.” Goodfellow now shifts to chief commercial officer at Contollo.

Concluded Liam May, director at NorthEdge Private Equity: “This investment brings together a number of NorthEdge’s focus areas, Contollo is another example of a regionally-based company with national reach,; the investment strategy is highly aligned with our ESG and sustainability commitments; and Contollo represents another buy and build investment in our portfolio. We are delighted to be partnering with Ruth and Oliver to support them to deliver their ambitious growth plan over the coming years.”

Liam May, director, NorthEdge Private Equity

Private Equity and Smart Buildings: About NorthEdge

Private equity firm NorthEdge typically invests in the Technology, Healthcare, Business Services and Specialized Industrials sectors. The firm's portfolio spans 27 businesses and 8,000 employees as of February 2024.

NorthEdge also has experience investing in cloud service providers (CSPs) and managed IT service providers (MSPs). We'll be watching to see what types of acquisitions the private equity firm acquires and tucks into Contollo.

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