I was really impressed with the way Access Holdings handled everything. From the first conversation to everything in between, they were very helpful and knowledgable.
Incoming Thesis Highlights
Based on Access Holdings’ macro driven investment strategy, we identified several industries that would be positively impacted by the aging Baby Boomer demographic. Through careful examination and analysis, Access saw opportunity in the end of life services industry.
The industry displayed multiple key investment characteristics:
Provides an essential service that is not correlated to the broader economy
Highly fragmented industry (~19,000+ funeral homes in the U.S.)
Opportunity to consolidate a market through partnering with multi-generation, family owned businesses
Opportunity to differentiate through offering a superior service offering
Ability to bring technology tools and systems to an underinvested in market
Operating leverage and margin enhancement opportunities with scale
High barriers to entry
Access identified Foundation Partners Group (“FPG”) as a unique investment opportunity and completed the acquisition of the Company in 2015. FPG offered Access an opportunity to acquire a strong platform from which to execute itsstrategy for the end of life services industry.
Through our ownership period, Access has worked with the FPG management team to implement multiple value creation initiatives at the Company to drive growth, improve margins, and expand into new markets and products.
Moved the Company to a Cremation Focused Strategy: Seeing the shifting market landscape with consumers increasingly focused on selecting cremation services over burial services, Access focused the acquisition strategy as well as the go to market strategy for the existing funeral home operations to be highly focused on providing cremation services. As a result, the Company’s cremation mix has moved from 56% when Access acquired FPG to 87% (vs. the market average of 55%)
Implemented a Purposeful Acquisition Strategy: Access worked with FPG to build a robust corporative development team that has thus far executed on 33 add-on acquisitions. The team follows a purposeful origination, execution and assimilation process following Access’ propriety corporate development
Developed Operational Clusters: Through a targeted acquisition approach, FPG has been able to develop strong geographic clusters of funeral homes and cemetery operations in target markets where operational, labor, and marketing synergies can be realized
Launched De Novo Operations: Implemented a de novo build-out strategy focused on the value end of the cremation market to serve as infills in existing operating clustersand deliver on consumer demands that weren’t currently being met by other funeral home providers
Expanded Preneed Strategy: FPG was able to leverage Access’ insurance expertise to enhance its preneed business–creating additional revenue and margin improvement opportunities
Human Capital Development: Supplemented the business with best-in-class operators and board members to ensure the Company has the right person in the right seat at the right time at both the corporate and field level
Real Asset Monetization: Harvested excess real estate assets to reinvest additional capital into the core operations of the business and fund further acquisitions opportunities