Yorkshire software business acquired by digital communications firm

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Car showroom and deal management software company, Reef Business Systems, has been acquired by digital communications specialist, CitNOW.

The deal was advised on by Yorkshire accountants and business advisers, Garbutt + Elliott.

Harrogate-based Reef Business Systems, was acquired by Wokingham-based CitNOW along with US-integrated cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) company, Quik, which has bases in Massachusetts and Dublin.

CitNOW made the acquisitions, backed by London-based private equity firm, Tenzing, to accelerate its US expansion, increase value to clients through additional products and services and expand the reach of its products.

Following the acquisition, Reef Business Systems, will be based under the recently acquired provider of showroom management systems, Dealerweb, Exeter, in the CitNOW Group portfolio.

Reef managing director, Jamie Pearson, has joined the senior management team of Dealerweb, while fellow director, Garry Cuthbert, will continue to advise both businesses.

Cuthbert said: “This acquisition gives Reef a valuable chance to expand its presence in the international automotive market. The combination of the different products and expertise assembled by CitNOW could become a powerful force in this sector.

“We received an excellent service from Garbutt + Elliott. Continuity and familiarity was key to choosing the firm for our corporate finance work.”

CitNOW Group executive chairman, Geoffrey Page-Morris, said: “Acquisition of complementary technology was always part of our growth strategy when we first became part of the Tenzing investment portfolio.

“The latest expansion with the purchase of Quik and Reef fits very well within the CitNOW Group and helps us work towards our vision of transforming the way software enhances communication in the automotive sector.

“We are looking forward to working with these two businesses and growing our market presence.”

Garbutt + Elliott’s corporate finance team, led by partner, Rob Burton, provided high level corporate finance and taxation advice on the deal structuring, completion mechanisms and tax structuring through through tax director, Steve Holmes and accounts director, Chris Ward. York law firm, Ware and Kay provided legal support.

Burton said: “G&E advised the Reef shareholders on the completion mechanism process and their understanding of how this worked.

“It was a key area of the deal and, by thoroughly understanding its implications, protected value for the shareholders. We were very pleased to help deliver a successful outcome for Reef Business Systems.

“This acquisition is a further sign that the deals market is very active and there is significant private equity funding available for the right assets.”

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