£9.2bn Loughborough software group reveals major new investment

The Access Group's HQ in Loughborough

A Loughborough business is set to become one of the largest UK-headquartered software providers after landing another round of funding from its investors.

The Access Group, a provider of business management software to mid-market organisations in the UK, Ireland and Asia Pacific, has revealed further investment from its shareholders, Hg and TA Associates, which values the firm at £9.2bn and makes would make it worth more than high-flying FTSE-100 software giant The Sage Group.

TheBusinessDesk.com first reported that the deal was in the pipeline last month.

Access has grown significantly since it was established in 1991, posting profit growth for the last 15 years. Since 2020, Access has more than doubled in size driven by double-digit organic growth, combined with a programme of mergers and acquisitions in the UK, Ireland and Asia Pacific. The business now has more than 60,000 customers and 5,000 employees, expanding internationally with offices in nine countries.

The investment from Hg, a software and services investor, and TA Associates, a global growth private equity firm, comes alongside backing from Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), a global institutional investor, which has confirmed a new investment in Access and becomes a minority shareholder in the company. The transaction, which is subject to customary regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the second half of 2022.

Chris Bayne, CEO of The Access Group, said: “I’m incredibly proud of our continued success and delighted that our leading investors, Hg and TA, continue to support us as the company expands in the UK, Ireland and Asia Pacific. With GIC’s additional investment, Access continues to receive strong support from the investment community, helping to drive our performance and growth plans.

“We have made massive progress in our growth strategy since we announced the last investment from Hg and TA in 2020. Hg and TA’s further investment in Access signifies our business and team’s strength. We look forward to expanding and continuing our relationship with all three of our investors as we carry on with organic and acquisitive growth projects and further geographic expansion.

“Over the next few years, the management team and I will continue to focus on our growth strategy and our products and solutions, especially Access Workspace, our SaaS platform, which allows our customers’ products and data to be consumed in one place with a consistent user experience.

“The acquisition facility gives Access the power for even more significant expansion as we continue to add exciting new technology and people to the Group. It’s our mission to transform our customers’ productivity and give them the freedom to do more of what’s important to them.”

Jonathan Boyes, partner at Hg, said: “Access has proved to be one of the biggest UK successes in cloud software. Chris and his team should feel incredibly proud of their achievements, delivering an exceptionally robust performance whilst significantly growing the business during a tough environment over the last few years. It has been a pleasure to work with the team and we’re delighted to commit further as a significant investor in the business. Hg is now a proud investor in three of the largest private equity-owned software businesses in Europe and we’re more excited than we’ve ever been about the future prospects of the role of SaaS in the business world.”

J. Morgan Seigler, managing director at TA Associates, said: “Over the course of TA’s more than seven-year partnership with Access, the business has continually shown its strength, resilience and capacity for innovation, driven by the leadership of Chris and the management team. We have been proud to support the journey and are thrilled to further our partnership. Looking ahead, we believe the business is well-positioned to continue delivering on its vision, focusing on strengthening product offerings, both organically and through strategic acquisitions, for its growing customer base.”

Rothschild & Co advised The Access Group and Arma Partners advised Hg on the transaction. Legal advisors were Latham & Watkins, Linklaters, and Travers Smith. Deloitte and Kirkland & Ellis advised The Access Group on the refinancing activities.

The news comes hot on the heels of The Access Group’s £56m acquisition of Australian-owned Reckon Accountants Group, its tenth swoop in the Asia Pacific region in three years.

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