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LDC South Team completes more than £500m of transactions in 18 months

9 Dec 2021

The investment activity of the South team of the UK’s leading mid-market private equity firm LDC has been unprecedented during the last 18 months, with the team completing 21 transactions with a combined value of more than £500million. 

LDC South’s new investments, exits and portfolio acquisitions have helped management teams leading businesses based across the Thames Valley, South and South-East of England emerge stronger from the pandemic with the financial firepower to accelerate growth.

The LDC team demonstrated its commitment to investing in businesses and supporting its portfolio companies throughout Covid, completing five new investments (James & James, Aker Systems, FSP, Phoenix Datacom and BOXPARK), a series of acquisitions for portfolio companies, as well as a number of exits generating market leading returns for shareholders.

LDC South’s investment performance has received market recognition through its win as Private Equity House of the Year at the recent Insider Thames Valley Dealmakers awards. The team was also awarded Large Deal of the Year for its investment in Babble. LDC supported the buy & build strategy of technology and communications specialist Babble in acquiring 12 businesses to expand its product portfolio and consolidate its position in the UK’s unified communications market. LDC retained a stake on its exit and continues to support the management team’s ambitious growth plans.

Across the 18-month period, the LDC team has partnered with and backed teams operating across a range of sectors. Another notable transaction was Aker Systems in which LDC invested coming out of the first Covid lockdown.  Following material investment in R&D and headcount to support critical ultra-secure cloud-based infrastructure development for public sector and enterprise clients, Aker’s financial performance has been stellar. The business grew by more than 50% during LDC’s partnership. It continues to win high profile new customers seeking to benefit from its technology expertise and products and recently attracted further investment from Abry Partners.

The LDC team’s most recent investment was in backing the management team of multi-award-winning hospitality and leisure operator BOXPARK, renowned for its branded street food, events and fanpark sites in Shoreditch, Wembley and Croydon. LDC is supporting management to accelerate the roll out of new sites across the UK.  A stand-out example of an entrepreneurial business founded in Brighton, LDC will be investing resource to support this exciting centre for ambitious, innovative companies.

LDC South also invested in Reading-based Digital transformation agency FSP, Network security and cyber specialist Phoenix Datacom and e-commerce fulfilment specialist James and James. The team worked closely with management teams to support strategic portfolio company M&A including Evolution Funding’s acquisition of Clickdealer, CIPHR’s acquisition of Digits and Babble’s buy & build activity.  In addition to exiting Babble and Aker, the South team helped to find a new investment partner for human capital management solution provider CIPHR.

As a sign of its commitment to continue to invest in businesses in the region, LDC has strengthened its South team with the addition of Chris Wood as Investment Manager in June 2020, followed by Klara Klarowicz’s recent promotion to the same role.

Lawrence Dean, Head of LDC in the South, predicts that the strength and resilience of the local business community will create further growth and investment opportunities for small and mid-sized companies over the coming months.

He said: “While business confidence in the region is steadily increasing, we’ve been impressed by how quickly management teams have adapted to continue to push for growth in these challenging circumstances. We are delighted to continue to play a very meaningful role in the push for robust, resilient growth across the businesses we back.

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We’re constantly on the lookout for ambitious business leaders who want to go that one step further and are looking for additional help to realise their growth plans, whether by acquiring a competitor, expanding overseas or developing new products and services. We have the capital and expertise to help management teams across the South to bring their ambitions to life.”
Lawrence Dean,
Head of LDC in The South

The South team has continued its support of important local causes. The team has a longstanding relationship with Camp Mohawk, a multi-functional day centre for children with special needs and their families that is based in Berkshire. During lockdown, the team also rallied the Thames Valley corporate finance community together to get active and raise £7,500 for the NHS and the Royal Berkshire Covid Wellbeing Centre.

More information on The Insider Thames Valley Dealmakers Awards winners can be found here.