Mercia exits software firm after £26m sale

Mercia Asset Management, the West Midlands fund management firm, has exited software firm Clear Review after it was sold for £26m.

Mercia held a 4% share in Clear Review and will receive around £1m as part of the sale.

The company, which was first backed by Mercia’s managed funds in 2018 and became a direct investment in June 2019, has been sold to Advanced Business Software and Solutions, the third largest British software and services company in the UK.

Clear Review, which was founded by Stuart Hearn, former HR director at Sony, is a software as a service tool providing organisations with data and systems to improve performance management. The firm passed £2m in annual recurring revenue in December 2019, up 100% from the previous year. Mercia portfolio director Nigel Owens was a non-executive director from December 2019 until the sale.

Hearn said: “We’re extremely proud of the success of our Clear Review platform and its role in improving business performance and developing talent around the world. The acquisition will enable us to accelerate Clear Review’s growth as well as integrate with Advanced’s HR solutions, helping organisations retain their best talent and increase performance.”

Dr Mark Payton, CEO of Mercia Asset Management, said: “Clear Review is now our fifth full cash exit from the direct investment portfolio, coming just three months after we announced the sale of The Native Antigen Company. We have been consistent in our stated objective to both source and exit deals well, and I am pleased that we have been able to again demonstrate our execution of this strategy through another successful exit.

“The team at Clear Review has achieved great things in a relatively short period of time and I am confident that under their new custodian they will continue to disrupt the HR SaaS sector.

“This sale process has been handled entirely virtually, which is testament to our team’s effectiveness in transacting deals even during these complex times.”

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