Apex Insight client reviews shows high satisfaction with report quality and value-for-money

At Apex Insight, we enjoy speaking to clients who use our reports. Anyone who buys from us is entitled to have a conference call to discuss the report and ask any questions they have arising from, or as a result of, it. We also carry out regular customer satisfaction research to see what clients think of our work, how we can improve it and what new areas they would like us to cover.

In our most recent exercise we approached all clients who had purchased a report from us in the last year for their input. We managed to speak to 30 and asked them a range of questions including how they scored our reports, from 1-5, for quality and value for money. The charts show the scores we received with the overwhelming majority scoring us either 4 or 5 out of 5 on both measures.

Apex Insight client feedback

While we are very pleased that these scores remained high, as they have been in previous years, we were also grateful for the input from those clients who identified areas where our reports can improve further. We are now working on incorporating these suggestions into our forthcoming reports.

We realise that it can be difficult for new clients to buy from a research provider for the first time. To give a degree of comfort, several clients have given us testimonials that they are happy for us to reproduce on our website. To provide more detail, here is a wider selection of client comments answering, in their own words, two questions: ‘How useful was the report to you?’ and ‘How does the Apex Insight report compare to those from other research providers?’

Names, companies and report titles have been witheld to preserve confidentiality.

‘How useful was the report to you?’

“It was invaluable because we came to the UK and wanted something to teach us how this market works here. And we needed to raise funding. Our investors needed a credible analysis of the market. Using your report we were able to get our funding: £2m” – New market entrant

“I feel Apex Insight reports are written by someone who is familiar with the market, that people in the marketplace are comfortable with what Apex writes, and the banks trust the numbers. I was comfortable presenting the information to our Board” – Corporate

“This is one of our strategic markets and we have many years of experience of it. We found the Apex Insight report very useful. All the areas we wanted were covered well, in particular the analysis of what is a complex value chain. It was more complete in this regard than other sources” – Corporate

“It is comprehensive and does what it says on the tin! A lot of it is based on publicly available information, but it would take me ages to put together if I did it. I think it is comprehensive” – Corporate

“We have been using the Apex Insight reports a lot over the last few months… comprehensive and provide key information, covering the market from different angles: the macro- economic view, market drivers, operating models and so on. There was information on how the numbers were calculated which gives confidence. Our new CEO came from outside this industry and he found the report useful” – Corporate

“It is really useful. The methodology is good: the logical path it takes you through from volume to value and product type. The graphs are good visuals, good comparisons of service offering, and the market trend part was also good” – Corporate

“It’s been useful. It’s the main report I use. I look at it 2-3 times a year. It gives us a bigger-picture view which we then can add to with the more detailed view we have of the market” – Corporate

“The report was very useful and gave good insights and was a good introduction to the sector. It was clear and easy to use. The forecasts were sensible and the industry experts quotes throughout were also good” – Strategy consulting firm

‘How does the Apex Insight report compare to those from other research providers?’

“It was the best report I read on this market… nobody questioned your figures” – Government

“As a company we buy a lot of different research. Overall, I think this Apex Insight one is the best I have seen. It is UK-specific, which is relevant for me, and it delivered everything I was looking for: sensible market figures and insights into competitors, their performance and their current contracts” – Corporate

“We commissioned someone to go out and see what is available on the market and were told that this report by Apex Insight was the best one.” – Public service body

“I have bought 3 or 4 reports from Apex Insight, and once I read them I knew this was the place to go and I don’t need to look elsewhere” – Investor

“It was the first time I had seen firm-ish statistics on our market as there isn’t a great deal out there. I have looked at quite a lot of other reports but they are not at this level. The Apex Insight one is ‘on the money’, it has granularity … I intend to buy the 2017 edition when it comes out.” – Corporate

“We have bought Apex Insight and another report because they cover different things…I would not say that one was better than the other. The Apex one is more of a market insight and the other one is more of a consumer insight” – Corporate

“It was well thought out, accurate and thorough. In the past we have used other sources, but the Apex Insight one is better” – Investor

“It gives a comprehensive overview of the market with good primary data, country-specific stats and breakdowns and detail on the leading players. The Apex Insight report gives recent data, ie figures from 2016, while many other reports give old stats from previous years. Also the Apex Insight one is a bit more granular and has more colour. It is all good, we are still using it” – Investment bank


Apex Insight supports acquisition of P2P Mailing by The Delivery Group / Next Wave Partners

P2P Mailing, based in Basildon, is a leading provider of international e-commerce delivery services, enabling UK retailers to deliver to overseas customers cost-effectively.

NextWave Partners is a UK mid-market private equity house with over £100m of funds under management.

The Delivery Group is a buy-and-build platform chaired by former UK Mail CEO, Paul Carvell, which also owns Secured Mail – a leading e-commerce delivery and downstream access mail provider – and CMS – which provides managed mail services and delivery of financial documents in London and other major financial centres.

Frank Proud from Apex Insight acted as an advisor on the market as part of the commercial due diligence carried out to support the transaction. Work included applying Apex Insight’s knowledge of the market to quantify the opportunity for P2P Mailing, evaluating its competitive advantages and the robustness of its business model, and drawing out implications for achievability of its forecasts.

The work confirmed that there is strong growth in demand for cost-effective international delivery services and that P2P Mailing’s offering in this area is superior to that of traditional parcels carriers.

About Apex Insight
Apex Insight is an independent provider of research, analysis, commercial due diligence and other consulting services covering business services markets in the UK and Europe.
In addition to Dalepak, our recent work has covered markets including mail / parcels services, travel commerce, consumer credit services and television production.


Apex Insight advises Sovereign on Dalepak logistics deal

Dalepak, based in Northampton, is a leading provider of value-added logistics and e-fulfilment services, serving customers in beauty products, giftware and other sectors.

Sovereign Capital is a leading UK mid-market private equity house with over £900m of funds under management. Sovereign specialises in buy-and-builds and has delivered over 240 transactions since 2001.

Apex Insight carried out commercial, operational and IT due diligence to support the transaction. The work included quantifying the market opportunity for Dalepak, understanding its competitive advantages, evaluating the robustness of its business model, assessing the strength of its main operational processes and IT systems and drawing out implications for achievability of its forecasts. It also involved working effectively in partnership with HMT, who carried out financial due diligence.

Interviews with a broad range of Dalepak customers revealed that the company is seen to deliver a very high level of service which differentiates it from competitors. Other findings included:
– Dalepak’s markets offer it significant opportunity to continue to grow.
– The Dalepak Directors are highly regarded by clients for their logistics, IT and solution-design skills.
– The company’s ability to incorporate very specific requirements to create bespoke solutions matching its customers’ needs closely is seen to be a particular strength.

Trevor Stokes from Sovereign said:
“Apex Insight’s commercial due diligence work was very useful to us, to the banks and the management team because they were able to set out the critical questions for this deal and to answer them effectively. In doing this, their experience from having been part of an MBO team, as well as having advised on many similar situations, was invaluable.”

About Apex Insight
Apex Insight is an independent provider of research, analysis, commercial due diligence and other consulting services covering business services markets in the UK and Europe.
In addition to Dalepak, our recent work has covered markets including mail / parcels services, travel commerce, consumer credit services and television production.


Apex Insight provides commercial due diligence to support Banijay Zodiak merger

Prior to the merger, Banijay Group, based in Paris, operated across Europe, the US and Australasia, with a particular strength in non-scripted / reality shows.

The merger with Zodiak, also based in Paris and strong across Europe, adds a range of assets including a leading production capability in the UK and a global sales arm with a large library of 20,000 hours of content.

The new merged Banijay Group, which will have revenues of around $1bn, has attracted investment from Vivendi, the parent company of Canal Plus, which has taken a 26.2% stake, alongside existing shareholders, LOV Group and De Agostini.

To support the transaction and subsequent bank syndication exercise, Apex Insight produced an in-depth study of the historical development of, and prospects for, the TV production markets in Europe and the US and Banijay / Zodiak’s position within them. This commercial due diligence work revealed that market growth has speeded up in recent years as television industry innovation has continued and the economic outlook has improved, in particular in markets such as Spain which were impacted by the Eurozone crisis. Forecasts are for growth to continue with Europe in particular benefitting from a more positive outlook for TV advertising revenues.

Philippe Magnani, Principal at LOV Group, said:
“Apex Insight’s work provided a detailed account of how the European and US TV production markets have performed, an explanation of the factors which have driven the trends, and forecasts of how the market is expected to develop in future”


Apex Insight provides commercial due diligence to support Travelport in its acquisition of a majority stake in Locomote

Travelport operates a business-to-business travel commerce platform which provides distribution, technology, payment and other solutions for the travel and tourism industry worldwide. With revenues of over $2bn, it is based in the UK and quoted on the New York Stock Exchange.

Locomote, based in Australia, provides a sophisticated technology solution which enables companies to manage all aspects of their business travel from any device in any location. It serves a range of corporate clients including ANZ Bank, Allen and Overy, Medibank and WorldVision.

Apex Insight carried out a customer referencing exercise which involved interviews with customers from sectors including banking, insurance, law, higher education, retail, mining and events management. The work revealed that Locomote customers had enjoyed significant cost savings from adopting the platform and had high satisfaction levels with the system, with its ease of use being particularly noted.

Sandra McLeod, CEO of Locomote, said:
“Apex Insight’s work confirmed our belief that Locomote offers a sophisticated system which fits well with the Travelport platform and also identified some further opportunities for the business.”


Commercial due diligence in the Middle East

By Vincent Schuller

Commercial due diligence to support private equity and corporate investors on transactions can be more an art than a science. In markets like the UK, the US and Western Europe, information on companies and markets is often readily available. Analysing the underlying drivers of a business’ outlook in light of market, customer trends and competition is helped by a healthy dose of data. Analysis therefore turns to more complex issues like robustness of customer relationships, competitive differentiation and other strategic issues relevant to a business’ outlook.

Lack of robust data
Private equity investors looking to acquire businesses in more opaque markets are often faced with greater difficulties in understanding market trends and competitive positioning. The Apex Insight team has supported investors looking at potential targets in countries like China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and it has become clear that commercial due diligence in the Middle East needs to be approached differently.

As there is no obligation to file accounts in a tax-free region, conducting due diligence on target businesses requires more primary research and less analysis of readily available market data. The same hurdles exist for business looking to enter the region and are compounded by the highly relationship driven culture, and ownership restrictions.

Primary research
Where data is less readily available, interviews with customers and other market participants are at a premium.

In order to validate business plans, management ambitions and to stress test the quality of company performance, it is often important to conduct interviews, especially where there is little data on the business, customers and markets. In a region, which is more relationship driven than Western economies, this tends to require local introductions and a degree of patience.

Country differences
The Middle East market has some peculiarities, critical for investors in the region to understand. While many investors think of the region as one cohesive region, countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Oman differ markedly from each other.

There are significant differences in ownership structures, local hire obligations, business culture, economic underpinnings and demographic profile. The UAE tends to be where regional headquarters are based, Saudi Arabia offers huge untapped potential in many industries and Qatar’s economic ambitions are high. Economic drivers and degree of diversification from oil-related revenues differ as well.

Private Equity in the Middle East
The Private Equity community in Middle East market is developing, but is still small compared to European and American markets. The region is host to a wide range of houses, benefiting from the vast amounts of investment capital in the region. Many of the houses are keen to professionalise and with a more crowded investor market, approach to investing turns to more detailed due diligence.

Our experience of Commercial Due Diligence in the Middle East
Apex Insight Director, Vincent Schuller, spent two years in the Middle East; helping one of the Big Four global accounting firms to develop a Commercial Due Diligence practice. While working in the Middle East, Vincent worked with clients including LVMH, Ericsson, Emap and Thomson Reuters, as well as a range of locally-based organisations.


Apex Insight carries out commercial due diligence on Dixons Carphone / Sprint US JV

By Frank Proud

Dixons Carphone has announced that its Connected World Services division has entered into an agreement with Sprint Corporation which will see the Carphone / Sprint JV operate stores in the US on behalf of Sprint. If an initial 20-store pilot is successful, Dixons Carphone will invest up to $32m to obtain a 50% share in the venture as it rolls out to up to 500 stores.

Apex Insight carried out an independent commercial due diligence review of the market and prospects for the joint venture to support Dixons Carphone in making its decision to partner with Sprint.

Sprint is one of the four national mobile networks in the US. It is backed by Softbank of Japan and has a management team with a brief to pursue a strategy of growth.

The US scores well on top-level benchmarks relative to the UK and Europe: 4G adoption has been faster and usage levels are higher for voice, text and data. Carrier revenues have been growing at approaching 5% per year and EBITDA margins are significantly higher than in the UK.

The Dixons Carphone Connected World Services team has a successful track record in the US from its joint venture with Best Buy which saw it open and operate Best Buy Mobile outlets within Best Buy outlets and at standalone locations.