2023 proved highly productive for Clearwater, with excellent client outcomes delivered, a move into the Netherlands, ongoing people development and existing initiatives gaining further momentum.

Despite a global slowdown in both deal volumes and value in 2023, Clearwater advised on 125 M&A deals, alongside 32 debt advisory transactions, with a combined value of €7.8bn.

Clearwater accelerated to 5th place in the European mid-market deal volume league tables for independent specialist corporate finance providers.

Activity highlights from 2023 included advising:

  • The management of EFOR, a prominent player in European life sciences consulting, and Raise Invest, a pioneer in sustainable finance, on securing debt and equity investments from private equity firms, Andera and Capza
  • The owners of PR electronics, a leading designer and manufacturer of signal conditioning instrumentation, on its sale to a partnership consisting of the Denmark-based family office investment firm, Kirk Kapital, and the European-Asian private equity firm, AGIC Capital
  • Uniper, a leading international energy company, on the sale of all its shares in Uniper Energy DMCC, their United Arab Emirates-based crude oil processing and marine fuel trading business, to a consortium of Montfort Group and the Private Office of Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum
  • Financing partner ICG, on its investment in Livingbridge-backed Direct Ferries, the world’s leading ferry aggregator, to support its global growth strategy
  • The Institute of Education, one of the best-known schools in Ireland, on its sale to Dukes Education, an international schools’ group with more than 32 schools across the UK and Europe
  • The shareholders of TrustedHousesitters, a global subscription-based pet-sitting and travel community, on its sale to Mayfair Equity Partners, a transaction completed with Clearwater’s US partner, KeyBanc Capital Markets.

"Clearwater accelerated to 5th place in the European mid-market deal volume league tables"


A key focus for the business was the merger in May with PhiDelphi Corporate Finance and the establishment of a Clearwater base in the Netherlands, taking the international footprint to 17 offices across 10 countries. Established in 2001, PhiDelphi had already completed over 250 transactions, and all employees moved seamlessly into the Clearwater business.

The headcount continued to grow, with over 400 people now employed in the business. This included several strategic hires at partner level. Notably, Greg Cant as UK Head of Financial Services, Sam Nolan in Ireland, Erik Appelgren in Sweden, and Onno de Groot in the Netherlands.

The business actively looks to reward its talent wherever possible, with a strong history of internal promotions across all levels. In 2023, this number stood at 75. At a senior level, this included Jonathan Bursztyn to Managing Partner in France, Ed Gale to TMT Partner in the UK, alongside Martin Agerup, Henrik Jakobsson, and Oscar Coster, in Sweden.

Clearwater’s Women’s network – ClearVision - continued to go from strength to strength, with two cross-country meetings taking place during the year. First in Dublin, where the focus was on how to engage with male colleagues to create inclusive workplaces, whilst accelerating performance and development through allyship. Secondly in Amsterdam, looking at the continuation of networking and mentoring, enabling change through allyship, and addressing self and career development. Further meetings are already planned for this year.

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"Clearwater’s women’s network – ClearVision - continued to go from strength to strength"

ESG Impact played a key role for Clearwater in 2023, as well as for clients. This involved taking our own corporate responsibility agenda to the next level, as well as launching a specialist team to advise clients on ESG impact strategies and the positive effect that should have on their M&A plans.

Clearwater Chair Phil Burns, commented:

“We have assembled a really talented group of people who share a high motivation to help businesses and their owners – especially entrepreneurs – nurture and realise their businesses value and potential. Time and time again we have challenged our clients to outperform and as a result we have been able to deliver them some really exceptional outcomes.”

Looking ahead to 2024, Phil added:

“Market conditions are improving and we expect growth this year. We will continue to invest in our team. As one of the last remaining partner-owned businesses in our space, we have a competitive advantage to attract the best talent and don’t have the pressure of outside investors who might not always take the long term view we can afford.”