Investment vehicle acquires ballot specialist following seven-figure loan

John Foster and Stephen Power

North West firm, Print Image Network (PIN), has been acquired by London-based investment vehicle, Owner Venture Managers, for an undisclosed sum.

Stockport-based PIN company provides electoral services for local government and online voting.

It serves councils nationwide and is one of the main providers of electoral printing, data and mailing services such as ballot books, poll cards and postal voting packs.

Its fast-growing UK Engage arm offers internet voting and AGM services to associations and membership bodies. It acts as an Independent Scrutineer or Returning Officer, helping to run processes such as trustee elections, membership ballots and AGMs, and is one of the few able to run trades union ballots.

The acquisition by Owner Venture Managers will allow for the eventual retirement of directors John Foster and Stephen Power, who founded PIN in 2000.

Both founders will retain a stake in the business and continue to lead its growth in the immediate future.

PIN employs more than 20 staff in Stockport and works with a network of production partners throughout the UK.

Director, John Foster, said: “Stephen and I have worked hard to build the business over the past 20-odd years and have a great client base and a fantastic team.

“We wanted to find an investment partner who could safeguard our legacy and take the business forward. We liked the approach taken by Owner Venture Managers and look forward to working with their team as we continue to grow the business.”

Owner Venture Managers was founded by James Wooster more than 20 years ago and now has 15 portfolio companies. It specialises in acquiring owner-managed SMEs and helping them with succession planning.

The acquisition was backed by a seven-figure loan from Frontier Development Capital (FDC), whose team included Ondrej Okeke and Kathryn Hoverd.

Ondrej Okeke, Frontier Development Capital investment director, said: “Print Image Network’s bespoke and highly professional service plays a key role in helping to deliver local democracy.

“The company also has a growing client base in the private sector, and increased use of e-voting and digital technology offers scope for further expansion in the future.

“The acquisition by Owner Venture Managers will help the business to put succession plans in place, build its management team and provide additional capital to support its continued growth.”

Hallidays Corporate Finance advised PIN. RSM provided financial due diligence for Owner Venture Managers. FDC Pellys provided legal advice to Owner Venture Managers, while Squires acted for FDC and Gorvins advised the founders.

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