LDC exits technology firm at three-times original investment

Andy Lyndon, Head of Midlands, LDC

Mid-market private equity firm LDC has completed the sale of a technology provider to the global travel industry in a deal which realised a three-times return on investment.

The deal, managed by LDC in the Midlands, sees Inflexion Private Equity acquire ATCORE Group.

ATCORE, which is headquartered in Slough, provides reservation and e-commerce solutions for travel companies and specialist tour operators. Through its Atcom platform, the business designs, builds and maintains inventory, pricing, booking and distribution software for some of the biggest names in the travel industry. Its Tigerbay platform serves specialist travel operators. ATCORE customers include Thomas Cook, TUI, Centre Pars, Mark Warner, Newmarket and Voyages Jules Verne.

In May 2014, LDC backed the business in the £45m management buyout of Anite Travel from its listed parent Anite, rebranding as ATCORE.

During the partnership, LDC has supported the business in new product launches, Atcom Search platform and Atcom Retail Browser, as well as the acquisition of Tigerbay, to further diversify the business’ offering and enter new markets.

New strategic hires were made to the management team, with Dave Cruickshank joining the business and being appointed as CEO in 2016. Mike Kingswood, previous CEO, moved into a non-executive position.

Three years on, ATCORE recorded revenues of £26m, and has grown EBITDA to £8.2m.

The transaction was led by investment director David Bains and Andy Lyndon, Head of LDC in the Midlands.

Dave Cruickshank, ATCORE CEO, said: “It was important for us to firmly establish our own identity after we become an independent entity, and we have worked closely with LDC to expand into new markets and invest in our suite of products. The funding and guidance from LDC has been instrumental in seeing through what has been an incredible period of transformation and growth for the company.

“As we enter the next stage of our journey, we look forward to working with the team at Inflexion who will support us as we maximise new growth opportunities in the international market.”

Andy Lyndon, Head of LDC in the Midlands, said: “The last three years have seen ATCORE achieve strong organic growth that has been boosted by a number of milestone achievements. The acquisition of Tigerbay enabled the business to diversify and develop new products, and new senior hires provided added firepower to accelerate growth.

“These strategic developments have seen ATCORE emerge as a leading platform provider in the industry, and the business is now well positioned to continue its growth journey in the expanding travel and tourism market.”

LDC was advised by Deloitte Corporate Finance and Gowling, with vendor due diligence completed by PwC.

Darren Boocock, financial advisory partner at Deloitte Midlands who advised on the deal, said: “This deal demonstrates once again that, by working together, the Midlands professional services community can deliver significant transactions with leading businesses.

“We are delighted to have led the sale of ATCORE Group, on behalf of LDC.  ATCORE is an outstanding leisure travel technology business, with an impressive management team, which is ideally placed to benefit from the continued evolution of technology in the travel sector. We worked closely with the Midlands LDC team, Gowlings and BDO to identify the right partner for the business and deliver the transaction through an efficient process.  The management team were delighted to partner with Inflexion for the next stage of the journey.”

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