Case study

Clifford Thames: Expansion for data services business

A £50m management buyout helped the leadership team to grow their business internationally.

Sector
  • Technology, Media, Telecoms

Clifford Thames is the leading provider of data services to the global automotive aftermarket industry.

Deal type
  • Management buyout
Deal value

£50m

Exit type
  • International trade sale
Exit date

June 2017

Based in Chelmsford, Essex, Clifford Thames supplies information on millions of car parts, allowing manufacturers and leasing companies to manage vehicle repairs and maintenance.

Its customers include Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Renault and VW Group and operating from offices in seven countries across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific, employing almost 500 people.

Management buyout

In 2014, we backed the £50m management buyout of the business supporting Calvin Barnett and his team. Their growth strategy was to expand its services in new overseas markets.

Clifford Thames subsequently made two strategic acquisitions, AC Autoconsult in Germany and a Ford Electronic Parts Catalogue platform.

In 2017 Clifford Thames’ management team was awarded the South East Mid-Market Team of the Year at the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA) Management Team Awards.

During our three-year partnership with LDC we have achieved significant scale and increased our revenues by adding to our core offering and expanding into new markets.”
Calvin Barnett, Chief Executive
Clifford Thames

Driven by success

Later the same year, Clifford Thames was acquired by OEConnection Holdings, the US-based e-commerce technology group.

The sale generated a money multiple of 2.7x and IRR of 47% for LDC, over the three-year period.

LDC has shown a genuine desire to work with management teams to grow and develop a business. I’d describe their approach as ‘a light hand on the tiller’, steering us through some of the challenges that the business faced as it grew and matured into a bigger company.”
Calvin Barnett, Chief Executive
Clifford Thames

Calvin Barnett, CEO of Clifford Thames discusses his partnership with LDC

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Awards

Mid-Market Team of the Year

Clifford Thames – BVCA Management Team Awards in South East & London

Deal of the Year over £25m

Clifford Thames – Thames Valley Deal Awards