LDC backs £50 million Clifford Thames MBO

The management team of automotive data company Clifford Thames has turned to private equity to finance a buy-out of the business.

The private equity arm of Lloyds Bank, LDC, has backed a £50 million acquisition of the previously venture capital-backed Clifford Thames.

Set up initially as a printing company in 1948, Clifford Thames now provides software, consultancy and business outsourcing services to the automotive industry. Its clients include Ford, Fiat and Jaguar Land Rover, with operations now existing in ten global countries.

Chief executive Calvin Barnett is leading the management buy-out (MBO), and will now oversea the continuing growth and development of the company’s ATHORIS product.

As part of the transaction, venture backer Octopus Investments is reinvesting its proceeds from the sale – having already led three earlier commitments into the company.

Barneet comments, ‘LDC’s investment brings additional strategic input and financial backing to our business and will help us to deliver ambitious growth plans.

‘As well as increasing the pace of organic growth and building on our position both here in the UK and within existing international markets, we are keen to peruse appropriate acquisition opportunities to increase our rate of growth in core areas alongside expansion into new ones.’

LDC has now made 11 new investments during 2014, worth in excess of £160 million of funding. A further £25 million has gone into existing portfolio companies to support acquisitions. The investor completed 22 investments worth £409 million in 2013.

LDC investment director Christian Bruning says that Clifford Chance is a ‘market-leading’ business with a knowledgable and experienced management team.

‘Clifford Thames is supported by a well-invested infrastructure through international operations in Europe, Asia and America, and going forward, we will work closely with the team to execute the next phase of the business’ growth and development, both organically and through acquisition.’

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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