Type of business: Development and technical services to organizations looking to customize, integrate, extend, upgrade or support their enterprise software applications.

Location: High Wycombe, England

Sale Value: Undisclosed

Situation

Since 1998, the UK company DWS has been providing development and technical services to organisations looking to customise, integrate, extend, upgrade or support their enterprise software applications. More recently, DWS has been building out a testing and automation solution stack in the JD Edwards space, and increasingly in Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications. The investment in SaaS delivered solutions has seen further increases in their roster of many well-known blue-chip customers. It is an Oracle Gold Partner.

DWS has a variety of its own automation tools specializing in Oracle products. It has strengths in streamlining test areas in particular, areas such as impact scope analysis tools, test management tools, and test automation tools at the time of upgrades. DWS had steadily accumulated achievements in support of clients’ introduction of Oracle products, particularly in the U.S. and Europe. https://dws-global.com/

The buyer, LogiGear, has built an international footprint in premium software testing. It has demonstrated outstanding performance in this fast growing and increasingly essential service sector. With technological advances, the opportunity to build complementary testing automation on various platforms has become a goal on LogiGear’s journey towards becoming the testing partner of choice internationally. https://www.logigear.com/

Going forward, LogiGear and DWS will mutually share their technical expertise with the aim of further improving service quality. This will include enhancing the functions of various tools specializing in Oracle products. In addition, they will utilize LogiGear’s international engineering resources to strengthen its ability to service its customers. By combining the marketing and sales functions of the two companies, they will focus on expanding transactions with Oracle’s customers, particularly in the U.S. and Europe.

Requirements

The client sought from Entrepreneurs Hub:

  • Partnership in an extensive programme of strategic strengthening and growth over a period of years
  • A greater understanding of how to capitalise on the needs of a growth market
  • Improvements in Governance
  • Assistance in identifying and developing growth opportunities in North America.
  • Uprating financial controls and financial reporting
  • Strengthening operation structures
  • Help finding an organisation with the scope to take DWS’s products and services to a wider international market, an organisation with shared values of technical excellence and professionalism
  • An appropriate exit strategy for the shareholders
  • Help with navigating every stage of the pre-sale and sale process, including valuation, marketing, due diligence, negotiation, and agreement of the final deal
  • Maximising the sale value for the shareholders

Solutions

Entrepreneurs Hub Directors helped DWS achieve a successful deal using the following means:

  • Almost four years of regular and systematic input ensuring that DWS would be well-placed for the securing the attention of international tech businesses.
  • Appointment of a Non-Executive Director from EH, to sit on the Board.
  • Embedding an EH external FD, followed by the recruitment process for a Financial Controller.
  • Hosting annual Company meeting days to build team and strategise.
  • Adding value and robust structure at all levels and in all aspects of the business, contributing to very substantial increase in both turnover and net profit.
  • An off-market M&A research exercise to establish the potential for an exit. This commenced with a period of research and analysis.
  • A further substantial period of identification of, then building global relationships for DWS, so that when the time was right, the best investment partner could be engaged.
  • Helping to develop new customer offerings and being part of their journey of corporate transformation.
  • Provision of a tailored plan for exit based upon the deep-rooted relationship formed with the company, its shareholders, and its management.
  • Construction of an Information Memorandum (IM), teaser letter and presentation to enhance acquirer interest in the business
  • Approach to approved targets anonymously, to develop interest
  • Securing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to enable the release of the Information Memorandum to targets approved by DWS’s shareholders
  • Arranging and chairing meetings between a top Deal Director from Entrepreneurs Hub and the ‘head-and- shoulders’ most appropriate buyer
  • Agreeing Heads of Terms
  • Managing the sophisticated financial and legal requirements needed for an international deal
  • Finalising a transaction with LogiGear, an international company specialising in test automation tools in the software industry.

The Team

Andrew Shepperd, Director and Co-founder

Andrew is a successful entrepreneur, mentor and lecturer. He is highly experienced in both buy and sell-side transactions, including Intellectual Property focused sales. He oversees the Entrepreneurs Hub deal-making team and has first-hand knowledge of post-acquisition integration as well as selling and acquiring businesses. Andrew has over three decades’ commercial leadership experience.

  • Former MD of Avaya and Azlan and main board member of TechData UK
  • Lecturer on M&A and Investment, and Advisory Board Member of the Imperial College London Global MBA and Entrepreneurship MSc programme
  • Mentor to M12, Microsoft Ventures’ Accelerator and to the Swiss Embassy in London
  • Has coached over 100 organisational leaders on communication strategy, turnaround, profit & revenue growth, and business operations, including not-for-profit organisations such as Buckinghamshire County Council and the UK National Police College
  • Leader of 5 organisational turnarounds for Nasdaq and NYSE quoted companies

On this project Andy’s initial mandate was for company strengthening and growth. He took up a Board function very early on and led the provision and implementation of their Business Improvement Plan. Major changes resulted in increased revenue and profitability. The two most outstanding contributions were in productising the company’s offerings – with a move to SAAS on a subscription basis, and with increasing market coverage, particularly in the USA. Andy served as Non-Exec with DWS for four years. Also acting as host for the annual company strategic meetings.

Tim Allaston, Director 

Tim has a vast range of expertise that he has fine-tuned during his 30-year career to date. He brings the extensive knowledge he’s accrued to the Entrepreneur’s Hub team, helping businesses of all types discover how they can prepare for – and achieve – their most successful sale. His experience spans from IT to professional services, big data & data analytics to utilities. It also includes significant engagement with social networking, beauty, leisure, construction, and engineering!

  • Instrumental in the strategic growth of many start-ups, MBOs and high-profile companies
  • Skilled in consulting from both a commercial and operational perspective
  • Previously part of the founding team that built a large IT Services business, later acquired by a significant IT distributor and services company
  • Highly adept negotiator with proven techniques that achieve the best price and terms for clients
  • An agile networker and Entrepreneurs Hub seminar contributor

Tim was involved with the client from the very beginning, building trust, harvesting crucial information and turning both into the substance of high-level contact with prospective acquirers. Tim and the team conducted a high level ‘off-market’ exercise in order to identify the ideal acquirer/s. This required in-depth research and analysis, followed by a substantial period of relationship building with LogiGear, the top-rated prospective purchaser.

Pete Maude, Project Director 

Peter’s career began at KPMG and he has since held several senior financial positions, including ten years as Finance Director for Ubisoft. He is known for his focus on financial planning and analysis, coming from a strong commercial finance and planning background with companies such as Virgin and Woolworths plc.

This experience is operational experience as well as commercial, with exposure to emerging markets such as Russia, Poland and India. Peter has the ability to work well with business owners of organisations, ranging from start-ups to large Plcs; to quickly understand their business and to help identify areas for improvement and plan for growth. He provides support for various not-for-profit communities and organisations across India.

In the case of this project, Pete was embedded to work with the shareholders on strengthening the financials pre-sale. He uprated financial controls and financial reporting during this time. During the transaction Pete supported the Due Diligence and communicated FD to FD with the acquiring business.

Administration at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh.

Let’s talk about how we can help you get ‘exitready’ and sell your business for maximum value. Make a confidential, no obligation call to one of our directors on: 0845 067 8678 or email [email protected]

www.entrepreneurshub.co.uk

Results

This project was remarkable for:

  • The numerous ‘touch points’ over years, starting with a full commercial, financial and legal review; leading on to a period of expansion, culminating in a transaction.
  • Major strengthening of the company’s systems, reporting and deliverables.
  • Introduction of key specialists with well-defined mandates that led to outstanding outcomes.
  • The pre-sale identification and grasping of substantial new opportunities for DWS’s products on the international market. This started to realise the potential of their technology and expertise and demonstrated the even greater potential for the eventual acquirer.
  • An effective alignment of corporate values through a robust and demanding research and analysis process.
  • A very successful deal at a good market price. However, nothing was presumptive. A full sale of all shares was the outcome, but not the only possible outcome.
  • A strategic sale. LogiGear has a strong global presence and was already active in the space. Their decision to acquire the shares of DWS and make it a subsidiary derived from their desire to strengthen their offering to the ERP (Enterprise Resources Planning) market as part of their own business expansion.

Vendor

“We are delighted to have successfully completed this transaction with LogiGear Corporation. This would not have been possible without the invaluable advice and guidance given to us by Andrew and his excellent team at Entrepreneurs Hub. They went above and beyond on many occasions to help us through what is, for most owners, a once in a lifetime transaction. I cannot recommend them highly enough. DWS was looking for an investment partner that shared both our vision and culture, and that would help to propel the next level of growth. We certainly believe we have that in spades with LogiGear Corporation and Digital Hearts.” Barry Burke, MD and Co-Owner

Purchaser

“Andrew reached out to us, presenting DWS, thinking there may be strong synergies between our two companies, and he was right! We discovered significant value to be unlocked in joining forces with DWS. Their suite of test automation tools and consulting services will enable our customers to accelerate development and deployment of new enterprise services applications, both internally and to the market. Further, we are excited to expand this technology across all the major SaaS services, to support all our global customers. Andrew and his team had DWS well prepared for a merge, which facilitated an extremely smooth transaction along the way!” - Jim Ellis, CEO LogiGear Group