PE group Palatine exits IT specialist in deal worth 3x original investment

Mid-market private equity investor Palatine has exited fast-growing IT managed service provider Acora.

The deal, involving a new minority investment from LDC, will generate a return of more than 3x the original investment in under three years.

Acora was founded more than 25 years ago and is based in West Sussex, with offices in London, Birmingham, Milton Keynes and Bath. It serves mid-market customers, mainly 500 to 5,000 users, across multiple sectors and locations.

Manchester-based Palatine invested in the technology provider from its Buyout Fund III in March 2020. Since then it has supported the management team’s growth strategy with five acquisitions which have added significant scale and service capability and taken the company’s headcount from 300 to more than 550 people and doubling revenues to more than £60m.

Amongst Acora’s most significant strategic acquisitions was the addition in May 2022, of cyber security provider Secrutiny, enabling it to offer a complete end-to-end service to its 300-plus customers around the world at a time of increased cyber security threat.

Andy Strickland, senior investment director at Palatine, said: “We have enjoyed a strong partnership with David Rabson, CEO at Acora and his leadership team. The business is well placed to continue its growth journey with LDC and we wish them every success.

“As well as the successful buy and build strategy, during the period of Palatine’s investment a number of key value-enhancing initiatives have been implemented including the repositioning of the business to focus on customer experience, a digitisation project to automate efficiencies in service delivery, and a significant ongoing ESG project to support talent attraction and retention – which helped the business gain recognition the Sunday Times Best Places to Work programme.”

David Rabson, CEO of Acora, said: “This new investment from LDC gives us significant firepower to help accelerate our ambitious growth plans. This investment is all about continuing our existing trajectory over the longer term.

“I’d like to extend my thanks to Palatine Private Equity for their support over the last 30 months. From the outset, they have been a supportive investor and have been true to their word throughout – we now have the strongest possible platform for future growth.”

Palatine was advised by law firm Gateley. Acora was advised by DC Advisory, RSM and law firm Eversheds Sutherland.

BDO Tech M&A advised LDC on the transaction. The deal was led by Paul Russell and Gordon Carstairs.