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Scottish IT firm targets deals as new investor brought in

KICK ICT, the Scottish independent managed IT services provider, has targeted further acquisitions after backer Business Growth Fund (BGF) made a successful exit from its investment in the firm.

BGF said it had achieved a “2x money multiple and 38% internal rate of return” on the £8.5 million investment it made in the Bellshill-based company in 2021.

Its exit was confirmed as it was announced that LDC, the private equity investor that is part of Lloyds Banking Group, had made a “significant investment” in Kick ICT, which was set up by Scottish IT veteran Tom O’Hara with Alan Turnbull and David Chazan in 2015, and has since made a flurry of bolt-on acquisitions.

Kick ICT now employs more than 170 people and provides business and finance solutions to over 1,000 customers across a range of sectors.

Geoff Neville, who joined Kick ICT as chairman when BGF invested, will remain with the company further to the LDC deal, with Mr O’Hara staying at the helm.

Mr O’Hara said: “BGF’s investment in 2021 allowed us to continue to deliver our ambitious growth strategy, and they were a fantastic partner as we implemented our buy and build approach, and strengthened the senior team in preparation for the scale of opportunity we see in front of us. This will now continue with LDC, and we are excited about the opportunities ahead.”

Lee Donaldson, investment director at LDC in Scotland, added: “The rapid pace of digitalisation across the economy means dynamic businesses like Kick ICT will be at the forefront of growth across the UK ICT sector in the years ahead. Tom and Alan are committed and ambitious founders, and we’re excited to support them, alongside the rest of the management team, as they continue their impressive run of acquisitions to drive growth and expand the business outside Scotland.”

Recent deals completed by Kick ICT included the acquisition of Dundee-based C2 Software in November, which expanded its Microsoft Dynamics offering to customers across the UK. It then made the “notable” acquisition of Paisley-based Consilium in August 2022.

Richard Pugh, investor at BGF, noted: “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Tom and the team at Kick ICT to deliver fantastic business growth since our original investment in 2021. Rapid progress meant all parties were able to realise their objectives ahead of schedule, and now with the incoming investment from LDC, the time was right for us to exit the business. We look forward to seeing Kick ICT go from strength to strength in future.”

Source: The Herald

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