Access UK Ltd

Lyceum Capital has backed a £50m management buyout of software company Access UK, which has a base in Sheffield. The deal involves Lyceum investing alongside Access’ existing management led by CEO Chris Bayne. The investment is intended to fund an expansion strategy focused on rapid organic growth and the acquisition of complementary businesses.

Bayne has been responsible for driving a 15 per cent growth in sales over the last 12 months and Access said it hoped the private equity firm’s investment would help it execute ambitious growth plans.

Joining Bayne in the management team will be new chairman Gareth Denley, who has held senior executive positions at IBM UK, Spring Group and Rebus HR, and non-executive director David England who was formally chief operating officer at Computer Software Group.

The deal involves the acquisition of the stakes previously held by founder Alistair O’Reilly and a number of other shareholders. Lyceum Capital’s Jeremy Hand and Phillip Buscombe have joined the board of Access.

Bayne said: “It’s fitting that on the 20th anniversary of Access’ incorporation we’ve agreed a deal which marks a significant step change in the speed and scale of the business’ expansion and secured the backing of an investment partner with an outstanding track record of generating sustainable growth.

“We’ll be focused on the continued development of our market-leading product and service portfolio through a combination of in-house development and the targeted acquisition of complementary solutions and will be looking to further develop our offering across the mid-market space.

“Our thanks go to exiting group managing director Alistair O’Reilly and non-executive chairman Paul Druckman, who have played a key role in helping the business get to where we are today.”

Established in 1991, Access is now a £28m-turnover business with an EBITDA of £5.5m.

The business has nine offices across the UK and Ireland and employs over 300 people, with 33 based in the Sheffield office.

It provides a full range of enterprise resource planning software and services, with a particular focus on financial management systems and human capital management.

It serves a 5,000-strong client base, which includes Spice Group, Yorkshire Coast Homes, Kirklees College and Bradford College.

Jeremy Hand, who led the deal for Lyceum Capital, said: “Access is a highly attractive company with a successful operating model, proven management team and a strong position in the rapidly growing business segment of the software market.

“This deal will give the business the funding and additional insight and expertise to broaden its services and penetrate further into key vertical industries.”

Funders and advisors on the deal included debt funding provided by Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Acquisition Finance and HSBC.

The buyers were advised by Wragge & Co, KPMG, Highwire, Intuitus, Aon, PwC, Investec and Oakley Capital. The exiting shareholders were advised by Regent, Maxwell Winward and Ensors.