Kingston Smith
May 2018

Kingston Smith has helped Ubisecure, a B2B identity services software provider with a strong footprint in Finland, to obtain funding from Octopus Investments to fuel expansion in Europe.

Ubisecure provides a powerful Identity Platform to connect customer digital identities with customer-facing SaaS and enterprise applications in the cloud and on-premise. The platform consists of productised CIAM middleware and API tooling to help connect, manage, consolidate and secure Customer identities while improving privacy and consent around personal data sharing to meet requirements such as GDPR and PSD2. The company is also accredited to issue Legal Entity Identifiers (LEI) under its RapidLEI brand, a cloud-based service that automates the LEI lifecycle to deliver LEIs quickly and easily.

The Kingston Smith corporate finance team led by John Cowie and Paul Winterflood supported Ubisecure. They identified potential funders who would be interested in investing in Ubisecure and advised Ubisecure on how to structure its pitch to funds.

Once a deal was agreed in principle, Kingston Smith’s tax team comprising Mark Fielden, Tom Acland and Geraint Lewis advised Ubisecure on the most appropriate tax structure.

Simon Wood, CEO of Ubisecure, said: “We really appreciate everything John and the rest of the Kingston Smith team have done for us and are very excited about our next phase of expansion. With the number of breaches involving personal information increasing and with GDPR taking effect today, how companies handle data is a hot topic. Our identity platform not only protects and manages identity data, it helps make the most of existing digital identities to bring about organisational efficiencies”.

Grant Paul-Florence, Head of Intermediate Capital at Octopus Investments, said: “Ubisecure is exactly the type of business our funds are looking to back – ambitious management teams with plans for significant growth. We’re grateful to Kingston Smith for introducing us to management and for all the work John and his team put in to structuring this growth capital investment. We’re very excited about the future.”

John Cowie of Kingston Smith, said: ”It’s been great to work with the Ubisecure team and help them gain backing for their exciting growth plans. They are poised to expand right across Europe and take the business to the next level.”
February 2018

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance has advised the shareholders of QBS Software Ltd on the company’s sale to GNR Technology Ltd for an undisclosed sum.

QBS is a leading software distributor, providing a comprehensive range of products from a wide spectrum of software publishers. Headquartered in London, the company employs 40 staff.

The Kingston Smith Corporate Finance team was appointed to help find an acquirer using its technology sector knowledge. Led by partner Marc Fecher and director Nick Thompson, the team worked closely with QBS Software’s shareholders to identify potential buyers and to negotiate, manage and complete the sale.

Mark Spangenthal, Director of QBS said: “Thank you Marc, Nick, Kat and the Kingston Smith Corporate Finance team, we couldn’t have done such a complicated transaction by ourselves. From the beginning of the process, you understood our personal requirements and exceeded our expectations of value by a significant multiple”.

Skye Quin, Director, of QBS said: “You helped, managed and supported us throughout the sale process with a personal touch and were a pleasure to work with. We’d highly recommend Kingston Smith to any tech entrepreneur wanting to sell their business”.

Marc Fecher said: “It’s been a great pleasure to see the QBS shareholders succeed with this sale. We’ve really enjoyed being part of their business journey”.

Dave Stevinson, Managing Director of GNR Technology Ltd commented: “Credit goes to both sets of advisors for their diligence to get the deal done in a professional manner and working above and beyond the call of duty to particularly tight deadlines”.

Both companies will continue to trade as separate companies under their own names.
September 2017

Top 20 UK chartered accountancy and business advisory firm Kingston Smith assisted tech start-up company appScatter with its AIM listing earlier this month.

appScatter is a scalable business-to-business software-as-a-service platform. It allows its paying users to distribute and manage their apps on multiple app stores as well as tracking performance and compliance.

Kingston Smith’s corporate finance and technology accountants worked closely with the visionary tech company and its nominated adviser, brokers and lawyers throughout the listing process. The firm advised appScatter on compliance, specific regulatory requirements, tax and corporate finance.

On 5 September appScatter raised £9m to secure its admission onto AIM.

Philip Marcella, Founder & CEO of appScatter said: “As with any such process, we faced various challenges but I was pleased with how the Kingston Smith team dealt with them – always available to explain what was required and why, but also able to work with us in resolving them.”

appScatter is set to roll out its platform in Q4 2017 and plans to establish a presence in China in 2018.
January 2017

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance advised the shareholders of Freightex Ltd, the Dover headquartered provider of logistics and freight brokerage services in the UK and Europe, on the sale of their business to UPS. UPS is among the largest multi-modal transportation companies in the world with extensive global airlines, trucking and package delivery networks.

Shippers of all sizes and industries today rely on Freightex for the efficient movement and visibility of goods across the UK and Europe. The company has eight locations across the UK and Europe and matches customers’ outgoing freight shipments with available trucking capacity across its network of carriers. Freightex will operate under UPS’s Coyote business unit through the Supply Chain and Freight segment and its customers will gain the benefits of scale, reach and access to a broad integrated portfolio of shipping solutions for all their supply chain management needs.

The acquisition immediately establishes UPS’s presence in the growing UK and European third-party logistics (3PL) over-the-road brokerage transportation market and launches a new global and regional UPS growth platform from an established base of customers and carriers.

Bradley Stanton, Chairman of Freightex, comments: “The Board of Freightex Ltd retained John Cowie at Kingston Smith to review and advise us on a number of potential corporate options that had emerged over a six month period. This advisory process ultimately led to the sale of the company to UPS. We felt very confident with John’s guidance from initial contact right through to completion of sale. He and his colleagues demonstrated a high degree of experience and breadth of expertise, complemented by strong attention to detail – all of which was invaluable to us.”

John Cowie, the partner at Kingston Smith who led the corporate finance team, said: “It has been a pleasure working with the Freightex team on this transaction. Everyone worked hard to meet an ambitious timetable – it was a true team effort.”
October 2016

Kingston Smith is pleased to have provided financial due diligence services to Mobeus Equity Partners in connection with its £2.2m growth capital investment in BookingTek. BookingTek is a provider of direct-booking software to major hotel groups. The funding will be used to expand the BookingTek team, broaden its international presence and facilitate the development of future products.

Greg Blin, Investment Manager at Mobeus comments, “The Kingston Smith team brought a strong mix of technical capability and commercialism, quickly identifying and dealing with the key financial issues which helped Mobeus in our assessment of the deal. We are grateful to their professionalism and support throughout the process and we look forward to working with the team on future transactions.”

London-based BookingTek, which was founded in 2011, provides software that enables hotels to reduce their reliance on third-party booking systems through an enterprise-grade, real-time booking platform for meeting rooms and restaurant reservations. The platform incorporates PCI payment processing that enables hotels to make their products viewable, bookable and payable all on their own website.

BookingTek’s products meet a key strategic focus of hotel groups at present which is to encourage guests to book directly rather than through third parties. BookingTek’s existing clients include two of the world’s top 10 hotel groups and the UK’s largest hotel group. BookingTek’s Meetings Maker product is the only software product that integrates with Oracle MICROS’ Opera Web Services for Sales & Catering, the leading hotel property management (PMS) software world-wide.
October 2016

Devonshire Corporate Finance Ltd (DCFL) advised the shareholders of Hammer Consolidated Holdings Ltd, a leading specialist distributor of server and storage solutions, on the sale of their business to DCC Technology, which trades as Exertis.

DCC Technology has agreed to acquire Hammer Consolidated Holdings Ltd, which in its financial year ended 31 January 2016, earned an operating profit of £6.3 million on revenue of £155.0 million. The transaction is conditional on competition clearance from the European Commission and is expected to complete by the end of the year. The consideration will be paid entirely in cash and is structured as an initial payment at completion, followed by earn-out payments over three years based on Hammer’s future trading results.

Based in Hampshire and employing 165 staff, Hammer distributes server and storage products for a broad range of leading suppliers including Dell, Intel, NetApp, Seagate and Western Digital. Hammer’s business is considered to be complementary to Exertis’ existing server and storage business, and will strengthen its supplier portfolio with the addition of almost 1,000 reseller customers.

Managing Director of Hammer Consolidated Holdings, James Ward comments: “Marc has worked with us 11 years, when he and the team supported our management buy-out. He has supported us in this process by offering advice and assistance every step of the way. Because of our longstanding relationship they really understood our ambitions and delivered them. We are delighted with the result and have no issues in recommending Marc and his team to others.”

Marc Fecher, Head of Devonshire Corporate Finance says, “I am delighted that I have been able to support the shareholders in achieving their objectives by leading on the sale process, including complex negotiations. Having forged a close relationship with James and his team 11 years ago when we assisted them to originally buy the business we were able to support their next step – successfully selling the business to a strategic buyer. Exertis have made an excellent acquisition of a strong business.”