Manchester translation group undergoes management buyout

Jasmin Schneider

Manchester-based language service provider, The Translation People, has undergone a management buyout, for an undisclosed sum.

Mobeus, a London-based finance firm, supported the deal as a platform investment to pursue a buy and build strategy in the growing, but highly fragmented, language services market.

The Translation People delivers B2B translation services to global corporates and SMEs from a range of locations, including Manchester, Birmingham, London, Glasgow, and Tunbridge Wells in the UK, and abroad in Bonn and Munich in Germany, Boston in the US, and Paris.

Using a combination of proprietary and third-party technology and a network of international linguists, the group provides business-critical translations for organisations across a range of sectors.

Mobeus was first introduced to The Translation People in 2018 and stayed close to the business as current MD Jasmin Schneider assumed the leadership from vendors Stephen Wilde and David Nichols.

As part of this transaction Wilde and Nichols are stepping back from day-to-day involvement in the business, but are supporting the buyout with a material investment and will retain a minority shareholding.

The Translation People has grown steadily over the past four years and has developed its German and French operations which make up more than 40% of group turnover.

The LSP market is highly fragmented with an estimated 27,000 LSPs globally. With ever increasing language requirements due to the globalisation of business, the importance of high quality LSPs is increasing. Having made one successful acquisition prior to Mobeus’s involvement, the strategy for the business is to grow through buy and build and Mobeus already has the first acquisition for The Translation People in diligence.

The transaction sees Mobeus back MD Schneider and her existing senior leadership team in an MBO that will be supplemented with the addition of chair Steve Dolton and CFO Tom Grunwald.

Dolton is a former serial PE-backed CFO having been instrumental to the success of the business services buy and build at Azzurri and, more recently, as a non-exec at GI Solutions and Knights.

The transaction completed at the end of December 2022, and was funded by a £12.4m investment by Mobeus alongside vendor and management rollover, with no third party debt funding.

This is the third investment from Mobeus’s latest UK-focused small-cap buyout fund, Mobeus Fund V, and completes a very busy period for the firm. It follows investments in GW Global Insights and Gungho Marketing last year.

The investment was led by Chris Price alongside Freddie Bacon and Jordan Kay. Chris Price has joined the board on completion with Jordan Kay joining as board observer.

Mobeus was introduced to the investment by Tim Scott of Cleveland Scott.

Chris Price, Mobeus partner, said: “We have stayed close to the business since 2018 and are delighted to have been able to track its strong performance through COVID and the continued development of the EU operations.

“We are excited to back a buy and build in what is a highly fragmented market.”

Jasmin Schneider said: “The market for translation services is large and growing. With Mobeus’s support we aspire to be one of the largest LSPs in the UK and to continue to develop our European operations.

“Mobeus has been extremely supportive of the management team through the process and we have really enjoyed developing the strategy together.”

Mobeus was advised by BDO (Buyside Corporate Finance), SPB (Legals & Legal DD), Armstrong (Commercial DD), Cortus (Financial DD), Nimdzi (LSP sector insight), Modo25 (Digital DD), Catalysis (Management DD), Sales Blueprint (Sales DD), Beyond M&A (Technology DD) and Grant Thornton (Tax).

The vendors were advised by Cleveland Scott (Corporate Finance), Mills and Reeve (Legal), Malthouse & Co (Accountants) and WR Partners (Tax).

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