National IT consultancy, Crimson Ltd, acquired by AIM-listed Harvey Nash Group plc

Ryecroft Glenton Corporate Finance has advised on the sale of national IT consultancy, Crimson Ltd to AIM-listed technology recruitment and outsourcing group Harvey Nash Group plc.

Creating the UK’s leading IT Solutions and Recruitment business employing 441 staff, the £15m acquisition will support Crimson’s scale-up ambitions, including entering overseas markets while increasing the suite of services and expertise the combined business can offer to its existing and new clients.

With its headquarters in Birmingham, Crimson delivers IT consultancy and specialist business technologies from Microsoft to blue chip UK companies in sectors such as utilities, retail, hospitality and telecommunications.  For the year ended 31 March 2017, Crimson’s audited report and accounts reflected a profit before tax of £1.7 million on turnover of £23.5 million with gross assets of £5.4 million at 31 March 2017.

Crimson’s technology and consultancy services are supplemented and supported by a specialist IT recruitment division, which sources and selects candidates for clients including VW Group, Ideal Shopping Direct and Go Outdoors.

The merger of Crimson and Harvey Nash’s UK business marks the first transformative acquisition by the Harvey Nash Group following its move to the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in July 2017.

This strategic initiative to accelerate growth supports the global business, which has revenues in excess of £700m, to deliver strategic acquisitions that will enhance its capabilities and geographic reach.

The acquisition will enable Crimson’s experienced management team to scale-up the business by providing Harvey Nash Group plc clients with access to its technology solutions while also entering new markets.  Currently, Crimson operates predominately in the UK, but aims to expand internationally benefiting from Harvey Nash Group plc’s global presence.

The existing management team, led by CEO Rob Mallaband, will remain with the company to continue to drive Crimson forward, along with the support of Harvey Nash Group Plc.

Crimson’s 46 shareholders were advised by Newcastle-based Ryecroft Glenton Corporate Finance, led by partner Carl Swansbury and supported by Alex Simpson and David Nixon.   The firm’s tax specialists Simon Hopwood and Charlie Burton provided tax advice to the shareholders. Legal advice was provided by Keystone Law led by Andrew Stilton and Stephen Clow.

Harvey Nash Group plc was advised by PwC led by Simon White with legal advice from CMS led by Jason Zemmel.

Rob Mallaband, CEO of Crimson, said: “Harvey Nash is well established with a unique portfolio of services and strong brand, and was the obvious choice when we were seeking a strategic partner to support us as we accelerate our own growth.

“I am delighted that Crimson is now part of the Harvey Nash Group and am confident that substantial success and opportunity lies ahead now that we have the backing and support of a much larger group with a global footprint.”

Albert Ellis, CEO of Harvey Nash Group plc, said: “I am delighted to welcome the team from Crimson into the Group. This is a transformative acquisition firmly establishing the Group’s business as the leading full service technology talent provider in the UK’s IT and digital sectors.

“The breadth and depth of technology expertise and talent resources offered by the combined businesses is unrivalled in the market and we expect to achieve cross selling synergies over the coming months. In particular, our world class Vietnam offshore IT project and software development service will complement Crimson’s already established and well respected onshore consulting teams.

“The announcement demonstrates our commitment to executing our stated strategy of delivering growth, both organically and through acquisitions.”

Carl Swansbury, partner at Ryecroft Glenton Corporate Finance, said: “Crimson’s management team and shareholders have created a robust and agile business, which has established itself with high profile, UK blue chip companies as a trusted and experienced technology solutions provider.  As part of Harvey Nash plc, the business can further scale its operations and help both companies deliver on the strategy to provide end-to-end technology services in an ever-changing and dynamic marketplace.”


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