Mergers and Acquisitions, Mergers and Acquisitions, Content, Private equity

RISC IT Acquired to Launch New Buy-Build Solutions Platform


Llandudno, Wales-based cloud-service provider RISC IT has been acquired and will serve as the foundation of a new buy-build group. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Risc IT Solutions is a 23-year-old Llandudno-based UK cloud service provider specializing in Microsoft services. Alex Heslip and Chris Earle have teamed with Independence Capital, a hybrid investor-advisor specializing in buy-build, to start a new IT/managed services buy-build platform based on the acquisition.

Wales-Based RISC IT Acquired

The pair were formerly group sales director and chief executive of Verastar, an aggregated business service provider, specializing in servicing the SME market, according to a prepared statement. In that venture, Heslip and Earle scaled the business from £16m EBITDA to £40m EBITDA in under ten years. They exited via a secondary buy-out led by Vitruvian at a valuation in excess of £430 million, according to the statement.

Heslip will lead as CEO and Chris Earle takes on the role of non-exec chairman of the group.

Heslip said the acquisition of RISC IT forms the foundation from which the group will accelerate going forward, as RISC has a long history in providing Microsoft Office 365, backup/restore and Azure cloud migrations. He said that it recently added a full MSP offering focusing on the 25-100 user market.

Original founder Paul Roberts and co-owner Joanna Stewart will exit and remain as part of the founding shareholders in the group. Jeremy Keane, RISC IT managing director, and Mark Lawton, RISC IT business development director, remain full-time with the group and also form part of the founding shareholders.

Executive Commentary

Jeremy Keane said:

"Mark and I would like to thank Paul and Jo for their hard work and dedication over the last 23 years, and especially for their work helping complete the acquisition. As the RISC business continues to grow year on year, we have repeatedly been approached by both potential trade and private equity acquirers. Nobody presented a transaction structured in the way we have now agreed and, whilst a great outcome for shareholders, critically, this deal ensures the protection of continuity for both employees and customers alike and we are really excited about what the future can hold with the benefit of our enhanced team and investment."

Max Ward, managing director, Independence Capital, added:

"In Alex and Chris we have a great example of the leaders we are built to back - experts in their market, with a proven playbook and, whilst traditional private equity has been kind to them in the past, with our support we have been able to construct a group which affords best-in-class management a structure which enables autonomy and incentivizes with maximum reward. With a full M&A pipeline already built, we look forward to sharing more information regarding additional deals soon."

The advisors to buy-side were Hill Dickinson (Jon Gillow - Legal), Cortus (Nicola Merrit - Diligence) and growth funding was provided by SME Capital (Paul Dolyniuk). For sell-side, the advisors were Howarth Clark Rickerby (Theresa Grech and Martyn Davies- Legal) and Bennet Brooks (Rick Payne and Mary Tiernay).