Vodat Communications Group (Vodat), backed by the Maven Capital Partners and HSBC, has extended its ICT capability with the acquisition of Cheltenham based Axonex Limited, a Cisco Gold Partner.
The two businesses are joining forces to form a group with an enhanced solution set that will benefit both customer bases and create an excellent platform for increased organic growth.
Both businesses will continue to operate from their existing offices in Stockport and Cheltenham respectively. The three Director shareholders of Axonex will all remain with the business and become shareholders in the enlarged group.
Neil Poultney, Vodat Managing Director, said “Like Vodat, Axonex have an excellent reputation with customer service at the heart of everything they do. Their skills and capabilities are complementary to Vodat’s, so both sets of clients will benefit from a more comprehensive solution set. The enlarged group will also be better placed to win new business through an extended offering”.
Andy Peters-Smith, Axonex Managing Director, said “These are very exciting times for Axonex. There are clearly synergies for both companies which can only enhance the services for our customers. The last 12 months has seen us double our headcount and move to new offices. We have experienced significant growth during this period, with revenues increasing by 68%. Vodat Group’s combined resources and extended skill set will position Axonex for the next phase of its growth.”
Axonex is the first acquisition for Vodat, and accelerates its aspiration to become a one stop shop for ICT technology as businesses transition to cloud based applications. The group’s core objective is to continue to increase growth through increased capability, organically and through further strategic acquisitions.
RSM’s team, including James Wild and Matt Ritchie, advised the shareholders of Vodat on the acquisition. James Wild, corporate finance partner, said: “The deal brings together two businesses that can benefit from each other’s capabilities and reputations in their respective markets. The newly enlarged group, with an enhanced product and service offering, is well positioned for future growth.”
Paul Johnson, Corporate Partner and Rachel Clarkson, Associate at Ward Hadaway led on the legal aspects of the transaction. Paul said “It is the first time we have acted for the group and we are absolutely delighted that Ward Hadaway has played its part in making this deal happen. We look forward to seeing the enlarged Group’s business continue to grow.”
A team from HSBC Commercial Banking, led by Relationship Director Josh Garrigan, provided a seven-figure funding package to support the deal. Sam Roden, HSBC’s Area Director of Greater Manchester, said: “We are pleased to be supporting Vodat as it joins with Axonex and begins a new chapter in its history. Both businesses are growing rapidly and with this strategic partnership they are set increase their market share and range of services. We look forward to seeing the businesses continue to flourish.”
Vodat is one of the fastest growing providers of communications solutions to UK businesses, offering a range of products and services including secure data networks, cloud services, Wi-Fi, IP Telephony, disaster recovery and security solutions. The business has a customer base covering over 9,000 sites and places a strong emphasis on ensuring excellent service, resulting in exceptional customer retention rates.
Axonex are a specialist IT solutions, services and support provider that delivers innovative solutions enabling their clients to reduce IT complexity and operating costs, resulting in enhanced business agility and growth. Axonex have unrivalled knowledge across key areas of expertise – Unified Communications, Data Centre, Security and Network Infrastructure. The business is supported by an extensive range of specialist accreditations, which includes being a Cisco Gold partner.
About Maven Capital Partners
Maven Capital Partners UK LLP (Maven) is a lower-mid cap private equity house focused on the provision of growth capital and mezzanine finance to SMEs across the UK. It is one of the most active private equity fund managers in the country, managing over £415 million of assets for a variety of client funds, including Venture Capital Trusts, a number of government-backed regional debt and equity funds, and Maven Investor Partners – a syndicate of institutional, family office and experienced investors.
Headquartered in Glasgow, and with other offices throughout the UK, Maven has nationwide coverage of the market for SME finance and is introduced to around 400 deals per year through 20 regionally based investment executives. With over 60 staff and partners, Maven executes a range of private company transactions, offers hands-on proactive portfolio management to investee companies and provides a fully integrated back-office support function to client and third-party fund managers. Since 2009 Maven has invested over £300 million in SMEs across the UK.
Maven backed the MBO of Vodat in 2012 and Investment Director Ryan Bevington sits on the board of Vodat.
RSM is a leading audit, tax and consulting firm to the middle market with 3,800 partners and staff operating from 35 locations throughout the UK. For the year ending 30 April 2017, RSM generated revenues in excess of £300m. RSM UK is a member firm of RSM International – the sixth largest network of audit, tax and consulting firms globally. The network spans over 120 countries, 800 offices and more than 41,400 people, with a fee income of more than $5bn.
About Ward Hadaway
Ward Hadaway is a major North law firm with offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester. It is a Northern law firm for National Business. One of the UK’s Top 100 law firms, it employs more than 450 staff, including many nationally recognised legal experts. It is among the top-ranked law firms in the UK according to independent legal guides Chambers & Partners 2017 and Legal 500 2016. The firm’s expertise spans a wide range of sectors including Banking and Finance, Company Commercial, Corporate Finance, Tax, Commercial Property, Planning, Social Housing, Dispute Resolution, Technology, Intellectual Property, Pensions, Healthcare, Education, Employment, Construction, Licensing, Debt Recovery, Corporate Recovery and Business Restructuring and services for the private client, including Family and Matrimonial and Wills and Trusts.
A Top 200 law firm in the UK, BPE Solicitors has more than 130 staff including 70 lawyers, with headquarters in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and offices in Stroud and London, as well as access points in Cirencester, Bristol and Oxford.
Many clients have been retained for decades and the firm has supported young businesses in their growth to become multi-million pound, multi-national operations.
BPE Solicitors is an entrepreneurial business working with like-minded businesses and individuals. It supports businesses through their lifecycle, from starting up and structuring a business to development either through growth, joint ventures, buying and selling or floating on the stock market.
About Harbour Key
Harbour Key, full-service advisors and accountants to Axonex, have been working with the business for two years in respect of assisting with its growth and working towards an exit event, including advising on the Vodat transaction.
Harbour Key provide specialist tax and strategic business advice together with traditional accountancy services. The team is made up of professionals from tax, accountancy and legal backgrounds, giving it the skills to handle a wide range of the financial issues that a businesses or individuals will encounter, which particularly came in to play in advising and looking after the Axonex transaction complicated by the involvement of a private equity firm