Lincoln’s Joint Ventures & Partnering Group

Lincoln International is the only global investment banking advisory firm to offer joint ventures and partnering strategy and execution services. Our joint ventures and partnering (JV&P) professionals work in close collaboration with our industry bankers to help clients determine when a partnership is the right path forward. ​ They identify the right partner for success,​ and structure the partnering relationship by meticulously determining what the partners can achieve together and how they’ll bring that vision to life.

The seasoned team is well-versed in navigating cross-border relationships in traditionally difficult to penetrate markets like China and the Middle East. They can avert common partnering missteps by helping stakeholders align on the right partnering business plan and level-setting expectations before the contractual ink is dry. See below for some recent JV&P successes that highlight Lincoln’s unique ability to help clients realize their strategic partnering goals.

Uniting three companies in a pioneering global partnership to automate indoor agriculture

World-leading developer of climate control, energy saving and water systems in the horticultural industry

Leading global technology provider of innovative robotics, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions

Expert in optimizing the growth and freshness of produce

Goal:

To combine the best technology, agricultural expertise and growing know-how to create fresh and environmentally sustainable produce in automated indoor farms to become a $50-$100m in business in the next few years.

Already a leader in the horticultural sector and based in the Netherlands, Priva wanted to do something truly innovative and transformative. Priva was looking for the "missing piece” to help them scale and grow their existing relationship with 80 Acres.

Most
innovative, ​ technologically advanced, vertical ​ indoor farming solution globally

80 Acres is a U.S.-based start-up specializing in growing fresh, tasty and sustainable produce. 80 Acres wanted to leverage the strength of Ocado’s global reputation and automation expertise to optimise its farms.

UK-based Ocado was seeking new revenue streams from the deployment / licencing of its technology into new sectors. Ocado wanted to do this via partnering to gain rapid access to specialist sector expertise and therefore shorten the time to market.

Lincoln's Role

To create a partnership that met all partners’ objectives whilst also helping them to navigate various differences in operating culture and ways of working. Lincoln facilitated discussions, negotiations and debriefings from the outset through to deal completion, helping the partners to understand nuances in language and style and ultimately forge a partnership that will changes the way the world eats on a global scale.

Partners Commend Lincoln's JV&P Advisory:

Lincoln’s extensive partnering experience, paired with their industry relationships and senior-level attention, were key to achieving a successful transaction. They also displayed significant determination and staying power!
Paul Clarke CBE, Chief Technology Officer at Ocado Group Plc

Without Lincoln we wouldn’t be here today. Not only are they a pleasure to work with, but also top professionals who taught me what drives a true partnership: a common goal, respect and trust.
Ton Wallast, Chief Financial Officer at Priva BV

Lincoln helped through every step of the process. Guiding us through the getting-to-know phase; assisting in structuring our thoughts around how we were going to run the business; and bringing us back together after tough negotiations. All of this was done in a quick, efficient manner; keeping the enthusiasm for the deal.
Tisha Livingston, President at 80 Acres Farms ​ ​ ​

Case Study II

Goal:

To provide best-in-class cybersecurity products and services in the KSA (and later the MENA and North Africa region).

Industry Focus:

Cybersecurity | Technology | Defense

Client:

A globally leading U.S. defense company seeking additional revenue growth in the Middle Eastern region; entered into discussions with its proposed partner to build a local cybersecurity joint venture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and to strengthen a long-standing relationship of significant strategic value.

Potential Partner:

An oil and gas company looking to support cybersecurity as one of the key pillars of the KSA’s Vision 2030. It also wants to diversify away from its core business – exposure to the fast-growing cybersecurity market has the added benefit that these sorts of skills and capabilities could also be deployed to protect its affiliates.

Challenges

  • Lack of dedicated resource focused on the proposed joint venture​ (JV) and limited bandwidth from senior management who were simultaneously trying to convert multiple other deals
  • Very little operational experience of JVs
  • Difficulty changing current “supplier” mindset to unfamiliar, more ​ “partnering” mindset
  • Obtaining information and decisions on a timely basis from the partner
  • Overcoming a sudden political demand for majority Saudi control, which would have made the JV impossible under U.S. trade regulations and prevented financial consolidation
  • Ensuring full commitment by the Saudis to building the JV sales pipeline in advance of launch​ ​ ​
  • Complexity of two different cultures / styles working together (US and KSA; cyber, technology and oil and gas)
  • Balancing a desire for rapid Saudization of the JV, foreign government instrumentality (FGI) concerns and ensuring compliance to enable client to consolidate the JV’s financials ​ ​ ​

Our Approach

  • Understanding the importance of compromise / give and take to arrive at a deal that worked for both parties as well as the cultural dynamics
  • Challenge initial thinking and provide support in iterating and finalizing the business case and risk analysis
  • Prepare, support and share ideas to facilitate negotiations (e.g. around IP, majority control)
  • Coordinate and review of all aspects of the JV business plan, including financial model, joint operating procedures, governance and controls, reporting, KPIs, etc.
  • Commercial input to and review of all JV contractual documents
  • Shape the JV implementation plan, including structuring, preparing for and facilitating the appropriate joint implementation working groups​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​

Results

  • A highly influential bridgehead established in the high-growth cybersecurity market (forecast >15% CAGR to 2025) and an opportunity to extend the JV’s range of services and customer reach across the Middle East and North Africa
  • 51-49% JV structure in favor of our client
  • Major strategic “halo” benefits from brand association for our clients

Lead Joint Ventures and Partnering advisor for $3 billion joint venture in China

Netherlands-based Heineken was seeking to grow market share in the premium beer segment in China, where it was facing stiff competition from Anheuser-Busch and domestic breweries

Combining a leading global premium beer portfolio with extensive China market access to increase market share in one of the fastest growing markets for premium beer

China Resources Beer, a Chinese SOE, wanted access to a portfolio of premium beer brands and assistance in developing a multinational marketing competency

Challenges

  • Bridging the divide between two totally different operating models (both culturally and stylistically)
  • Building an effective governance model that would also foster relationship building
  • Developing appropriate pricing and marketing mechanisms to enable the partners to better manage and direct their marketing efforts within the structure of the Joint Venture (JV) Agreement
  • “Translating” cultural nuances in language and style, enabling our client to more effectively understand its partner and make decisions that were productive to the JV’s goals

Lincoln's Role

  • To develop and fortify the JV’s governance and operating models to address the cultural and operational differences between the two partners
  • Lincoln focused on creating an effective and efficient system for our client to interacting with its partner (and its parent organization) for after the deal had been signed, enabling our client to stay “in the loop” on real-time progress and influence outcomes from a minority stakeholder position
  • It was also important that Lincoln provided specific, practical recommendations for changes of approach at our client’s global brand headquarters and in the local support organization, including how to set up and run training and compliance monitoring activities in China

Results

  • Development of a multi-level partner engagement plan to assist with ongoing relationship management, resulting in improved understanding and working-level communication between the two partners

Vertical Indoor Farming at Center of Worldwide Partnership Rooted in Innovation

Building a Landmark Cybersecurity Joint Venture in the Middle East

Global Beverage Brand Satiates Thirst for Chinese Growth through Strategic Distribution Partnership

Client’s Objective (and if valuable alternatives explored that weren’t viable):

Lincoln’s Role: Critical Steps in Securing a Strategic & Successful Outcome:

Why the future is bright: (this is the place where you can feature some of the external dynamics that help

Client’s Objective (and if valuable alternatives explored that weren’t viable):

Lincoln’s Role: Critical Steps in Securing a Strategic & Successful Outcome:

Why the future is bright: (this is the place where you can feature some of the external dynamics that help

Ocado, a UK-based technology company renowned for its innovative online grocery retail platform, wanted to extend its technology into new directions while addressing issues central to its mission: ​

  1. Food safety and quality
  2. Environmental sustainability

Lincoln facilitated a strategic process to prioritize opportunities that aligned with a long-term roadmap for diversification of Ocado’s platform.

In addition, Lincoln’s JV&P professionals: ​

  • Initiated a partner selection process based on agreed target markets to enter
  • Evaluated prospective partners’ against key criteria for success
  • Led discussions among interested parties to assess mutual and strategic fit
  • Facilitated process through Shareholders’ Agreement with post-close strategic support ongoing

Result: ​ A troika partnership emerges! The result is the combination of three experts in their respective markets who, now aligned, are bringing the highest quality foods to consumers in an extremely efficient way. The experts of 80 Acres Farms, leaders in bringing food from farm to table is a complement to Priva’s​ expertise creating greenhouses and growing environments that yield perfect and supremely fresh food which is unified with Ocado’s expertise of using robotics and AI to grow in an environmentally sound way. ​ Why the Future is Bright: (TO BE COMPLETED BY TEAM – why will this marriage succeed?)

Connect with the Team

Dr. Marc van Grondelle

Managing Director

Emma Blackley

Director

Charles Hedden

Vice President

Lauren Sharp

Vice President