Investment Strategy

Ultimately, our own success – and that of our investors – depends on how well our partner companies perform. And by supporting our partners where appropriate in their strategic planning and business operations, and approaching challenges with creativity and flexibility, we can help ensure success for our partners, investors and for ourselves.

Private Equity

Principals have >35 years of Private Equity Experience

  • 24 public and private company boards
  • Principals have deep experience in all aspects of negotiated transactions

 

Consulting

Experience across Transaction Size and Geography

  • Mr. Prosperi has both local and international private equity transaction experience
  • Deal experience includes investments ranging from $25 - $500 million
  • Principals have significant experience and relationships across Canada

 

Operating

Investment Experience Across Industries

  • Retail & Consumer Products
  • Media & Communications
  • Transportation & Logistics
  • Distribution
  • Healthcare Services
  • Business Services
Mr. Shlesinger and Stevenson have worked together through three different companies and situations, in a partnership that goes back to 1986:
1986 – 1993
  • Bain & Company (London and Toronto)
  • Co-founded the Toronto office in 1989
  • Worked closely together to build one of Bain’s fastest- growing, highest-morale and most profitable offices worldwide.
1993 – 2001
  • Chapters Inc
  • Mr. Stevenson led buyouts of Smithbooks and Coles and the creation of Chapters
  • Mr. Shlesinger (while head of Bain Canada) an original investor in the deal, on board of Chapters and key Bain advisor to the company.
2006 – present
  • Clearspring Capital Partners
  • Mr. Shlesinger joined in 2003, Mr. Stevenson in 2006

Clearspring is, above all, a disciplined investor and business partner. Our focus is on Canada, more specifically on the mid-market – companies with at least $10MM of EBITDA and management teams that are looking to take their businesses to the next level of performance and sustainability.

We partner with management teams and owners of businesses with:

Strong Competitive Position

  • Correctly-defined market leadership
  • No macro (outsourcing, technology, commodity pricing) risks

Solid Financial Track Record

  • Across multiple economic cycles
  • Stable platform for growth

Potential to dramatically improve performance by getting a few things right

  • Combinations/acquisitions
  • Geographic or product expansion

The best team in the industry

  • Prior success in the sector or similar situations
  • Shared risks and rewards

Our unique combination of top-tier consulting, private equity and operating backgrounds allows Clearspring to build relationships with management teams that are based on more than just a single transaction. We are able to discuss the business priorities, the industry dynamics and the winning future strategies in a manner that goes beyond just the financial engineering and results.

Based on these relationships, we have been able to invest in companies on a proprietary or self-sourced basis, often with no agents or intermediaries involved. We spend a great deal of effort understanding the industries and sectors that are of interest to us, and identifying and working with the teams that we believe have the chance to be the long term winners.

This takes time, and many of our portfolio companies were in discussions with us for years before we had alignment on structure and strategy. The advantage of this long-term approach is when we make our investment, we have already agreed on the value creation plan and priorities with the management team – we know that we are aligned and who is doing what to help the company realize its full potential.

Nearly all of our capital has been invested on a proprietary basis.

We have spent our entire careers helping businesses grow, transform and reach their full potential. Whether working with Bain clients, leading public companies or as active investors, our entire culture is centred on building partnerships with management teams to help them drive full potential performance within their companies.

We work with these teams as true partners – where we share risks and rewards – and focus on the few key levers that truly drive value creation. We believe that in every situation there are a handful of levers that will ultimate determine our joint success, and we do all we can to support management to maximize the performance in each of them.

While the actions themselves may be different company to company, situation to situation, we believe that collecting external data is a key part of creating an industry-leading business. By really understanding key customers and competitors, we can help management set the right course for the business. Instead of navigating through fog, we can help determine the best way to move forward to maximize the company’s competitive advantages and build long-term defenses against the competition.

We are not managers looking to run our businesses. We are the support and sounding boards for our managers as they grow their businesses. We are always on the boards of directors and we are always active with management, working closely on the key value drivers, from strategic planning to capital allocation, financial structure and eventually exit planning.