Lead Forensics


LDC exits Ellis Whittam to Marlowe plc

29 Oct 2020

Leading mid-market private equity firm LDC has announced the exit of Cheshire-based employment specialist Ellis Whittam (EW) to Marlowe plc. The exit follows a successful four-year partnership that saw EW accelerate organic growth and expand its position as a leader in high quality subscription-based compliance services.

Founded in 2004 by solicitor Mark Ellis, EW provides employment law, HR and safety services to over 35,000 UK employers.

LDC made a significant minority investment in EW in 2016, giving the business the financial firepower and support to drive forward its growth strategy. Since then, EW has grown organically, investing heavily across its sales and marketing capabilities, technology propositions and service delivery teams resulting in it tripling its client base.

Marlowe plc is a London Stock Exchange listed company with a market capitalisation of over £300m. In a short space of time it has built a group of businesses comprising of health & safety compliance and software, water treatment and hygiene, fire safety & security and air quality & testing services.

Marlowe’s acquisition will allow EW to improve and expand its services to clients as the company becomes Marlowe’s platform for growth in employment law, HR and safety compliance. EW will retain its brand name and CEO Gavin Snell and the firm’s board of directors will continue to lead the business. As a part of the deal, EW founder Mark Ellis will retire after 16 years.

orange quote mark
I am proud of the significant growth we’ve achieved together with the backing of LDC over the last four years. The LDC team took the time to understand our vision for Ellis Whittam and believed in our potential. I appreciate their support.”
Mark Ellis, Founder
Ellis Whittam

“EW is now in a great position to bring its services to even more customers as part of Marlowe plc.”

Richard Ibbett, Investment Director at LDC in Manchester, said: “We’ve enjoyed working alongside Mark, Gavin and the team to support the growth of Ellis Whittam. And many of our portfolio companies have appreciated their professional support as they became EW clients. We look forward to watching the business continue its success and wish the team all the best as part of Marlowe plc.”

Marlowe’s CEO, Alex Dacre commented: “For a number of years we have admired Ellis Whittam’s progress and we are delighted that such a quality and well-regarded business has today joined Marlowe plc. We are looking forward to working with Gavin, Andy and the whole Ellis Whittam team to realise these opportunities and take the business forward in this exciting next chapter of growth.”

LDC and EW were advised by Clearwater International and DWF Law. Vendor Financial & Tax Due Diligence by KPMG. Marlowe was advised by Rothschild, Field Fisher and Grant Thornton.