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YFM makes significant investment into fast-growing ERP business

FM Equity Partners (YFM) has completed an investment from its Buyout Fund II into Cooper Software, a Scottish-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software specialist, as the fast-growing tech business continues to expand its customer base, develop its product offering and target overseas markets.

Founded in 2005 by current CEO Frank Cooper, Cooper Software is an independent provider of products, consulting services and 24/7 support for ERP, helping businesses manage day-to-day functions and bringing the flow of data between these processes into a unified platform. The business has provided more than 1,500 enterprise solutions for over 300 clients worldwide.

The company comprises two divisions: the first specialises in supplying and integrating the IFS ERP system. Having worked with the Swedish enterprise software provider since the company’s inception in 2005, Cooper Software is among its longest standing global partners and one of only 15 partners to be accredited with Gold Channel Partner Status. In 2018, it became an IFS reseller, selling IFS solutions direct to end users. The business uses the IFS platform to target sectors including manufacturing, energy & utilities, service and maintenance, engineering & construction and food & beverage. Clients include Hamamatsu, Harland and Wolff, Wrightbus, Intelligent Energy, Scot JCB, BMW and Gordon & MacPhail. 

In addition, Cooper Software has a separate division which has developed its own SaaS solution, ProScope, to complement the Oracle NetSuite ERP platform with which the business has partnered since 2014. Already, the company has sold ProScope to businesses around the world, including in the USA, Scandinavia, Australia, Europe and Africa.

Based in Dalgety Bay, Fife, Cooper Software has grown to employ over 70 people and its turnover is expected to reach £6.7m this year. 

Led by its executive team comprising Frank Cooper, CEO; Marc Cooper, CFO; and Dean Gardner, managing director for the ProScope division, the business has strengthened its board over the last six months with the recruitment of experienced IT services and software specialists Jonathan Dunn as managing director of the IFS division and David Greenlees as chief commercial officer. 

“Over the last 16 years, Frank and the team have established a successful technology business from the ground up that retains a family feel, but they recognise that the time is right to take it to the next level,” explains Andy Thomas, YFM partner. “With the growth of the global ERP market having been accelerated as companies look to technology to drive greater value, the sector has huge potential as companies seek to maximise the benefits of digital transformation through greater automation, emerging technologies and data intelligence, as well as protecting against some of the modern day challenges presented by the pandemic such as of remote working. 

“Cooper Software has demonstrated its ability to really understand its clients’ business operations and, partnering with IFS and NetSuite, to implement market-leading ERP software in order to create bespoke solutions. The addition of its own ProScope product has also shown the company’s potential to develop leading edge, modern software relevant to its target sectors, and we believe there is a real global opportunity to target new international markets with plans already underway to expand into Germany.”

Frank Cooper comments: “In looking for the right investment partner for Cooper Software, we were delighted to receive strong interest and subsequent offers from a number of different investor companies. It was immediately obvious that YFM understood our business, our operations and our people, yet, most importantly, the exciting opportunities for growth. 

“Enterprise Software is going through a huge change and both IFS and NetSuite are leading this charge in their respective fields. As we look to maximise the opportunities, bringing YFM on board is a key part of that strategy, giving us the flexibility and backup that will allow us to execute our plan to grow Cooper Software both significantly and rapidly. Cooper Software is built on strong foundations of healthy recurring financials, an expert, dedicated and experienced team, strong partner and customer relationships and clear USPs in the markets in which we operate. We believe YFM share many of these characteristics and are a good cultural fit to be the strong strategic partner we need to help drive the business forward.”

The YFM investment team comprised Andy Thomas, Laura Sisson and Ian Waterfield, while Steve Harrison will join the board of Cooper Software. The shareholders were given corporate finance advice by Lee Wojtkiw and Max Perry of Camlee Group; and legal advice from Browne Jacobson. 

Commercial due diligence was provided by Graph Strategy; financial due diligence by Cortus Advisory; legal due diligence by Addleshaw Goddard; organisational review by Catalysis; technical due diligence by Beyond M&A; insurance due diligence by Vista Private Equity; and tax advice by RSM.

YFM has a strong track record in the tech sector, including working with the award-winning digital transformation and customer experience specialist FourNet and with enterprise database management business DSP Explorer.

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