Hg makes strategic investment in Financial Express

Hg Capital plcHg, the manager of HgCapital Trust plc, is to make a significant investment in Financial Express, a leading data, analytics and software vendor focussed on the UK and Australian retail investment funds markets. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. HgCapital Trust plc will invest approximately £7.5 million in FE, with other institutional clients of Hg investing alongside the Company through the Mercury 2 Fund.

Based on the 30 April 2018 NAV, the company’s liquid resources available for future deployment, including all announced transactions, are estimated to be £145 million (20% of the 30 April 2018 pro forma NAV of £712.8 million). In addition, the company has access to an £80 million standby facility, which is currently undrawn. The investment will reduce the company’s outstanding commitments to invest in Hg transactions over the next four to five years to approximately £587 million.

Founded by Michael Holland and Craig Wilson, FE is a leading provider of investment data, research and software to the financial services industry in the UK and operates a proprietary database of complete retail funds data with global coverage and history, built up over 20 years. Trusted by investors, advisers, asset managers and platforms who use FE data, software and investment advice every day, FE is a leading player in supporting the UK fund industry.

The investment will be made from the Mercury 2 Fund. FE has a number of business characteristics that Hg looks for, including a strong position in the wealth / asset management software and data sector, a well-recognised brand, mission-critical products, and a strong management team led by Neil Bradford.

The investment comes on the back of significant expansion of FE’s global operations and product offering over the past few years, and another year of record growth for the company in 2017.

Sebastien Briens, Partner at Hg, said: ‘We have been following FE for a number of years, and have been impressed by the strength and depth of its data, products, team and vision. We are very pleased to partner with Michael, Craig and Neil in the next stage of growth for the business.’

Neil Bradford, CEO at FE, said: ‘Hg’s track record and experience in our sector means they are the perfect partner to continue FE’s growth strategy and international expansion ambitions. We look forward to working with the Hg team.’

Michael Holland, co founder of FE, said: ‘Data is at the foundation of everything we do and Hg has a deep understanding of the fund data space. I am confident that this partnership will hugely benefit our clients.’

UK, London

Freeman acquires Info Salons

FreemanBrand experience company Freeman has acquired digital technology company Info Salons, a leading provider of registration and attendee database management solutions. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With the acquisition, Freeman will benefit from Info Salons’ nearly 30 years of experience in the industry and its event technology solutions which aim to improve online and on-site registration processes and unlock attendee data and sales leads for show organizers. Going forward, Info Salons applications and tools will be fully integrated into the digital solutions offered by Freeman.

Richard Maranville, chief digital officer at Freeman, said, “We’re always looking for ways to simplify the event and show planning processes for our clients; and investing in leading digital technologies enables us to provide the robust capabilities show organizers need to thrive in the ever-evolving events industry. With the integration of Info Salons’ digital tools into our event management offerings, we’ll be better equipped to help our clients get the most out of their attendee data.”

USA, Dallas, TX & Australia, Surry Hills

Bglobal sells Utilisoft Australia to Hansen Corporation

bglobalSmart energy solutions and services business Bglobal plc has sold its Australian subsidiary, Utilisoft Pty Ltd (“Utilisoft Australia”), to Hansen Corporation Pty Ltd for a cash consideration of AUD$3.5 million (£2.36 million). Utilisoft Australia provides data management, software and process solutions to customers in the Australian energy market.  Hansen is an independent provider of billing, customer care and IT solutions to the telecommunications, electricity, gas and water industries.

In the year ending 31 March 2012, Utilisoft Australia achieved revenue of £2.38 million, operating profit of £0.36 million and profit before taxation of £0.39 million.  The net assets of Utilisoft Australia at 31 March 2012 were £0.40 million.

The sale of Utilisoft Australia will allow the Board to focus on its remaining UK operating businesses and continue to develop its “meter to cash” smart meter services platform.  During 2012, investment has been made in establishing Bsmart Energy Solutions, a company that is focused on delivering end to end energy services to the SME market and Nutech Training Limited, a company that provides dual fuel smart meter installation training. Both of these subsidiaries are now generating revenues for the Group. The cash proceeds of the sale will be used to invest in the further development of products and services, especially in the further development and testing of a PAYG integrated software solution for which the Group has received strong interest.

The Group now has a strengthened balance sheet, cash in the bank of approximately £3.4 million and the Board has confidence that further progress will be made during the current calendar year to capitalise on the opportunities that the Group is currently pursuing.

Tim Jackson-Smith, CEO, commented: “The sale of our Australian subsidiary strengthens the Group’s balance sheet and provides us with the resources to accelerate the development and field testing of our PAYG solution for which we have seen strong interest from existing energy suppliers and social and commercial landlords. I would like to thank all of the team at Utilisoft Pty for their commitment and hard work and look forward to seeing the business develop under its new owner.”

UK, Darwen, Lancashire & Australia, Bathurst NSW

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