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Quarter 2's South East deal highlights: Major acquisitions and investments

By Steve Charnock
22 April 2022

It's been another busy few months in the South East in terms of business investments and buyouts.

Mergers and acquisitions are a large part of what keeps the local, national and global economy running. They also impact on the organisations, and those that work for them, in a significant way too. That's why we like to keep a close eye on the notable deals throughout our area.

This is April and May's round-up...

SOFTWARE: Oxford Metrics' asset arm sold off for over £50m
Buckinghamshire's Causeway Technologies has purchased Yotta (based out of Leamington Spa). The company provides software to assist in the management of over 35 million physical assets and is the infrastructure asset management division of software specialists Oxford Metrics. The is deal worth £52m.

TECHNOLOGY: Oxford Technology Park bought for £183m
The 20 acre Oxford Technology Park site has been acquired by Life Science REIT in a deal worth £183m. Once fully developed, it'll comprise of nearly 500,000 sq ft of life science space and facilities. The first two of the 11 units are already finished. Five more units are due to be completed during 2022 and the last four during 2023.

TECH INSTRUMENTS: Egham's Spectris agrees deal to buy US firm Dytran Instruments
Surrey-based Spectris have struck a deal to buy the Californian piezo-electric accelerometers and sensors manufacturers Dytran Instruments for £66m. The firm will be integrated into Hottinger Brüel & Kjær (HBK), a Spectris subsidiary.

COMMUNICATIONS: Southern Communications Group (SCG) acquires cloud tech specialists X-on
Basingstoke's SCG, a top supplier of business-to-business comms products and services, has bought Suffolk firm X-on in order to expand its cloud-based phone services to its GP surgery clients.

SOFTWARE: Sopheon buys SaaS outfit Solverboard
Leading international providers of software and services for Enterprise Innovation Management solutions, Sopheon - based out of Guildford in the UK - has acquired Solverlink Limited (aka Solverboard), a British based cloud-based business specialising in the front-end of innovation management.

LAW: Knights Solicitors buys up successful south coast law firm
Coffin Mew, with its offices in Southampton, Brighton, Portsmouth and Newbury, has been acquired by Knights in a deal worth more than £11m.

DATA TECH: Reading app firm Qmee bought out by Kantar
Marketing data and analytics firm Kantar has acquired the Reading-based app survey platform and fraud prevention technology provider Qmee. The newly-bought Berkshire company was attractive because it 'uses data science in order to help brands and researchers gather human insights at speed and scale'.

INSURANCE: Kent's Markerstudy Group buys BGL Insurance
Peterborough-based BGL Insurance, who employ more than 1,700 people, has just been acquired by rival firm Markerstudy Group. Redundancies have not been ruled out by the Sevenoaks firm, although the BGL brand - it's been confirmed - will remain intact.

FINANCE TECH: Dutch cash automation specialists acquire by Cennox
Camberley's ATM giants Cennox have purchased the Netherlands-based 'Company Group', which includes Lincsafe, Cashtester, Secusystems and Merlin.

TECH INSTRUMENTS: BCMS advises Geotek on its sale to Judges Scientific
Newbury-based BCMS has advised Geotek on its sale to Judges Scientific in a deal that could reach up to £80m in value.

VENUES: Southampton wedding venue Three Choirs Vineyards bought in management buyout
Southampton Wedding Venue, The Three Choirs Vineyards has been subject to management buyout and renamed The Wickham Estate. The Southampton vineyard and wedding venue was purchased by married couple, James and Samantha Davies at a cost of £1.1million. The Davies secured the finance from Lloyds Bank.

CONSTRUCTION: Brickability acquires Modular Clay Products
Construction supply firm, Brickability Group have announced their acquisition of Modular Clay Products Limited. The deal was closed at £4.75 million.

PROPERTY: Graham + Sibbald secure Swindon base with Keningtons acquisition
Property agency and consultancy, Graham + Sibbald, are expanding their presence in the South of England following their acquisition of independent Chartered Surveying firm, Keningtons.

TECHNOLOGY: KTSL and Connectus Business Solutions merge to create The Connectus Group
UK managed services providers Connectus Business Solutions and KTSL have merged and will be called The Connectus Group. They expect to deliver revenues of more than £10m next year.

ENGINEERING: Spectris sells Omega Engineering to Arcline Investment Management
The Surrey firm agreed a deal for Arcline to buy their specialist sensor wing in a deal worth over £400m.

TECHNOLOGY: UKCloud's acquisition by Hadston 2 is rubber-stamped by the government
Farnborough-based multi-cloud experts UKCloud can further their plans for digital transformation in the public sector after their acquisition by Hadston 2 Ltd was approved under the National Security and Investment Act.

MOTORING: Straightset complete purchase of Southampton's Supertracker
Wheel alignment specialists Supertracker have been saved after going into administration recently. The Hampshire firm have been bought by Britain's leading independent garage equipment specialist Straightset.

HEALTHCARE: Ascenti acquires physiotherapy firm Six Physio
Fareham healthcare provider Ascenti have expanded their portfolio with the purchase of West London's Six Physio. They acquire all nine sites and more than 60 staff in the process, although Six Physio will continue to operate as a separate business, with no major changes to the way they run.

DIGITAL: The Escape Agency completes management buyout
Ian Mumford, former creative director of the strategic brand and digital agency The Escape, has completed a successful management buyout of the business.

DIGITAL & MEDIA: Black Ox acquires video production company Sightline
Surrey media company Black Ox Ltd., who bought The Business Magazine in March 2021, have purchased fellow Guildford residents Sightline. The firm specialise in corporate videos and will bolster Black Ox's offering to their B2B clients.

FINANCE: Nordic Capital acquires independent financial advice firm Ascot Lloyd
In the deal, Nordic will pay an as yet unannounced amount for the IFA company to their current owners Oaktree Capital Management and Ares Management Corporation, acquiring more than 500 staff across 17 UK locations.

TECHNOLOGY: EvolutionCBS sell cloud provider Egress to FPE Capital
FPE Capital LLP have completed the multi-million pound purchase of Egress, a provider of cloud and data migration and integration management service. Egress' selling parent company EvolutionCBS informed shareholders of the buyout at the start of April.

SOFTWARE: IRIS Software acquires Paycheck Plus
Ireland’s top payroll services provider Paycheck Plus has been acquired by the Slough-based IRIS Software Group, who one of Britain's biggest software firms.

LOGISTICS: Whistl to invest more than £12m as part of rapid expansion plans
Marlow-HQ'd logistics firm Whistl has announced a substantial £12m investment fleet expansion and renewal programme that will see them buy I7 Peugeot Boxer Vans, 26 18-tonne trucks, 17 26-tonne trucks, 126 Renault T-Range Tractor Units and 115 new trailers.

LOGISTICS: Vision Logistical Solutions acquired by German firm LLG
Third-party logistics services firm Vision Logistical Solutions has been bought out by German company Life Logistics Global. The Portsmouth business provide healthcare products to patients at home or in care and can now expand.

WATER: Camberley-based drainage firm Envirowise bought
Surrey's residential and commercial wastewater treatment specialists Envirowise have been acquired by Premier Tech's UK-based water and environment division. All ten employees will shift across and work for Premier Tech.

LIFE SCIENCES: Discovery Park Ventures backs its first two firms
DPV have invested in their first two early stage life sciences companies. Ophthalmology specialists VisusNano and drug delivery start-up Vitarka Therapeutics, have been given £100,000 and £140,000 respectively from the Kent investment firm. It's part of a nurturing scheme designed to help new companies but doesn't ask for equity.

TECH EQUIPMENT: Spectris buys US firm Dytran Instruments for £66m.
Egham-based high-tech precision instrument manufacturers Spectris have agreed a deal to buy the Californian Dytran Instruments, a piezo-electric accelerometer and sensors- specialist.

TECH EQUIPMENT: Bartec Technologies bought by Hungarian company Mediso
Specialising in the supply, installation and support of molecular imaging equipment and nuclear medicine, Farnborough's Bartec Technologies have long worked with Budapest-based Mediso. This quarter, Medison are buying Bartec in order to strengthen their position in the UK.

FOOD: 'Free-from' brand White Rabbit secures £1.1m funding boost
Guinness Asset Management have put a seven figure sum into the Oxford firm White Rabbit. The 'free-from' specialists supply several large supermarkets with plant-based Italian foods such as pizzas. The money has already been earmarked for UK marketing and an expansion overseas.

CONSTRUCTION: Reading builders merchants M's bought by Bournemouth firm Sydenhams
Hampshire-based Timber and building supplies supplier Sydenhams has bought out its Reading rival M's Building Supplies.

MEDIA: Black Ox purchases its second regional business magazine
Guildford-based media and events company Black Ox - owners of the very website you're reading now - have purchased another local business publication. The Business & Innovation Magazine covers Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire, North Wiltshire, Bristol, Coventry and Warwickshire.

As you can see, there's been plenty of deals signed this month in the South East. Join us again next month for another round-up of all the big investments, buy-outs, mergers and acquisitions.

Been involved in a company purchase or investment recently? If you'd like the deal to be considered for this - or an upcoming monthly list - please email: [email protected].