A six-strong management team has acquired the business from a family shareholder in a deal valued at £6 million.
Private equity house WestBridge Capital, which led the transaction, has invested £2.6 million in return for a 43 per cent stake in the business, which may be reduced under the operation of a management performance mechanism.
Other funding was provided by The Co-operative Bank, vendor loan notes, management and an American investor group affiliated to the Giumarra Companies.
The deal provides Anglia with development capital to fund the migration of its industry leading LINKFresh software onto the Microsoft Dynamics AX Platform. The investment will also be used to fund the development of its international operations, primarily through its US subsidiary, California-based LINKFresh Inc.
Anglia Business Solutions was established in 1981 and has grown into a £6 million turnover business by providing software and IT consultancy to companies requiring supply chain expertise.
Key to its success has been the development of LINKFresh, bespoke software that provides customers in the fresh produce sector with real time management and logistics information.
The company is a Microsoft gold partner and in July 2012 was named by Microsoft the Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Partner of the Year in the UK. The software giant has stated it is keen to support Anglia expand internationally and target larger customers.
Guy Davies, managing partner at WestBridge Capital, said:
“This is the sort of hidden gem company we like to invest in – established, profitable and with huge growth potential but in need of capital to implement its plans.
“Anglia has exciting plans afoot, not least of which will be growing its presence and market share in the States where food traceability legislation is catching up with Europe. This provides the perfect opportunity for the company to grow market share with its suite of Microsoft supported products, which are already tried, tested and proven.”
Robert Frost, Anglia’s Group Chief Executive Officer who led the management buyout, adds:
“I can honestly say this is the most exciting time for my colleagues and me. After years of carefully nurturing this company, we are now poised for significant growth.
“The support we’ve received from the team at WestBridge Capital has been most welcome. The fit felt right from the start and together we’ve already agreed a roadmap for strong but achievable growth. Basically, the market potential – particularly overseas where legislation is a few years behind the UK – is high. We just needed the capital injection to enable us to capitalize on the opportunity.”
Tim Riley, Executive Vice President, Giumarra Companies said:
“We were so impressed with the LINKFresh system that we decided to invest in the business. We believe Anglia, under Robert’s leadership, is ideally placed to enhance the systems and probity of US based fresh produce growers and importers. We are delighted to support Anglia’s growth through our investment in the business.
“We believe WestBridge Capital is the ideal investment partner because of their experience and the supportive approach they provide to SME businesses like Anglia.”