Jon Moulton (born 15 October 1950) is a British venture capitalist. He is the founder and managing partner of the private equity firm Better Capital, and is the former managing partner of the private equity firm Alchemy Partners. Moulton is best known for leading Alchemy Partners' bid to buy MG Rover from BMW in 2000, which ultimately lost out to a rival offer from the Phoenix Consortium.
Moulton is originally from Stoke-on-Trent, and suffered ill health at an early age due to the coal smoke in the area. He was educated at Hanley High School and Lancaster University, where he took a degree in chemistry. He then trained as a chartered accountant, and joined Coopers & Lybrand in 1972. He left in 1980 to join Citicorp Venture Capital, and became managing director in London. He was managing partner of Schroder Ventures from 1985 to 1994, and then did a spell at Apax Partners.
Alchemy venture capital
In 1997 he founded a new venture capital firm, Alchemy.
Moulton has earned a reputation for outspokenness. He has criticised attempts by private equity firms to deflect criticism. He has also spoken out against the favourable tax treatment of private equity. In July 2007, he gave evidence to a Treasury Select Committee of the House of Commons enquiring into the private equity industry, when he accused private equity firms of abusing a generous tax regime. Later that year he criticised the accountancy profession for a loss of integrity in due diligence work on private equity buyouts. Despite being an outspoken critic of offshore, Moulton has a residence in low-tax Guernsey in addition to a Guernsey-domiciled investment company.
Moulton resigned from Alchemy in September 2009, saying that he disagreed with plans by other partners to turn Alchemy into a specialist financial services firm. Moulton also apologised to investors for making "too many investment and people errors", and that he will do investment again "but better", (hence the name Better Capital").
In April 2010, Better Capital backed a management buyout of the UK arm of Reader's Digest in a £13 million deal with the company's administrator, Moore Stephens. In April 2011 he became Chairman of Verdi Semiconductor, a Fabless semiconductor company in the LED and Power sector. In July 2011, financed by Royal Bank of Scotland, Better Capital purchased luxury motor yacht manufacturer Fairline Boats (based in Oundle) from 3i, at a cost of approximately £35 million.
Following the Installation Dinner of Mary Collis as Master of the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants at the Carpenter's Hall in October 2011, Moulton was admitted as an Honorary Freeman of the Company, in recognition of his long standing support of the Company and of outstanding service to private equity and the management consultancy industry.
The resuscitation plan for the struggling logistics company, bought for a notional £1 on 26 April 2013, failed and it was put into liquidation on Christmas Day, 25 December 2014, effective 31 December 2014. Customers with goods in their depots were given just one day to collect their goods at their own expense. The timing of the announcement has come under weighty criticism, given that the only thing keeping the company solvent from the start was the capital injection of its owners.
- Jon Moulton: I could have saved Rover, The Independent, 12 September 2009
- Jon Moulton, founder, Alchemy Partners: Dicing with the debt meister The Independent, 29 October 2006]
- Alchemy founder John Moulton rounds on private equity claims, The Times, 26 February 2008
- International Herald Tribune 27 September 2007[dead link]
- Private equity 'abusing tax deal', BBC News, 3 July 2007
- "Moulton slams buyout due dilligence (sic) 'collapse'", Accountancy Age, 8 November 2007
- Guernsey's funds industry is on the right track, says Moulton, Guernsey Finance, 12 May 2011.
- Alchemy boss Moulton quits firm, BBC News, 4 September 2009
- Moore Stephens sells Reader's Digest to Jon Moulton business, Accountancy Age, 12 April 2010
- Rentokil sells City Link for £1 to Better Capital, BBC News, 29 April 2013
- The Better Capital Fund Portfolio, Better Capital website, 29 December 2014
- City Link boss defends actions over collapse as criticism grows, BBC News, 20 December 2014