The Good Funeral Guide Blog

August Equity out, Montagu Private Equity in. Your local funeral directors.

Friday, 20 May 2016

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Thanks to Robert De Baahr from the London Society of Death for bringing this to our attention – from Insider Media Ltd.

‘European private equity firm Montagu has acquired a majority stake in a Berkshire-headquartered funeral services provider which has more than 130 branches throughout the country.

Founded in 2007 by chief executive Phillip Greenfield, Funeral Services Partnership (FSP) is the third largest provider in the UK. The Reading-headquartered company employees about 500 staff and oversees 10,500 funerals per year.

FSP’s model is based on acquiring independent funeral directors and putting in “investment, training and improved processes”.

Montagu will partner with Phillip Greenfield and his management team to grow the business by making further acquisitions and through organic expansion.

Greenfield said: “We want to continue to grow our presence in the UK market and we are confident that Montagu will be great partners given their previous experience of the sector. We look forward to working with Alex and the team going forward.”

Alex Dabbous, director at Montagu, added: “We are proud to be investing in FSP, a strong brand name in a sector we know well. FSP provides important and essential services, and we will work hard with Phillip and his team to help build the business further in the years to come.”

The financial details of the deal were undisclosed.’

4 comments on “August Equity out, Montagu Private Equity in. Your local funeral directors.

  1. Wednesday 25th May 2016 at 8:59 am

    While I understand how investors would look to the funeral industry as a sound place to put their money, surely it can’t be right.
    Yes, funeral directors are a business. Yes, we have got to make a profit otherwise we won’t be able to help anyone else in 6 months time. Yes, I do think we deserve to take a reasonable wage for what we do….let’s face it, some of the day to day aspects of dealing with certain deceased people is certainly not for the faint hearted.
    However, when I read of *any* company and their published annual reports, it makes me shudder.
    They shouldn’t be talking about funeral numbers, amount of branches acquired and net profit. They should remember they are talking about actual people with families, who on the whole, are grieving and left behind.

    I also firmly believe that these companies who are purely talking about numbers and amounts are the very people who are giving real funeral directors who really care a terribly bad name.

    Funeral costs and funeral directors are under the spotlight at the moment and rightly so. The industry as a whole is being tarnished by those who are not being transparent and high pricing and I believe this is coming from those companies who have many branches, charge a small fortune and treat funerals like a conveyor belt.

    For the consumer, it is a terribly difficult situation. I believe many people go to a funeral director thinking it is the “old family firm that they have always used” but have no idea it had been sold out and still trading under the same family name. We have this very problem here in my home town.

    I think families want to use small, independent funeral directors so they receive a personal service. How are they able to do that unless they thoroughly research before they go?
    I still find it quite disturbing that these companies clearly don’t have any confidence in their own name and brand so they buy companies and continue to trade under that one.

    I go back to my original point….funerals aren’t all about box ticking, selling and profit. They are about people and I think it is time the funeral industry as a whole remembers this.

  2. Charles Cowling

    Monday 23rd May 2016 at 2:38 pm

    The funeral market just doesn’t work properly. A good business should be one which is good for its customers. What’s notable about this accountant-led statement is the complete absence of any consideration of any benefit to the bereaved. The lack of effective consumer scrutiny of the funerals business is largely to blame, I’m afraid.

  3. Andrew Rush

    Monday 23rd May 2016 at 9:36 am

    FSP is hardly “a strong brand name” when the branches trade under their old family business names.

    Perhaps Montagu don’t know the sector quite as well as they imply?

  4. Saturday 21st May 2016 at 8:42 pm

    So this is the third Funeral Partners owner? The original company, (I believe) was sold, for a tidy profit by Sovereign Capital, the new investor took it on a little further it seems, and now Montagu are hoping to create an even more rewarding investment, or should that be first class funeral firm. Have I got this right Charles?

    Well done chaps. I’m sure the thousands of families turning to you in the months ahead will be reassured.

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