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Walker Morris advises on Smoothwall MBO

Specialist lawyers at Walker Morris have advised the principal shareholders of cyber security and web filtering firm, Smoothwall, on its management buyout (MBO) backed by private equity investor, Tenzing.

Founded in 2001 and with its head office based in Leeds, Smoothwall focuses on real-time, content aware web filtering technologies combined with next generation firewall. The company works closely with schools, local government, healthcare and private sector organisations to protect their networks against cyber security threats.

With an established UK presence and a growing footprint in the US market, the MBO was conducted after Smoothwall demonstrated consistent sales driven by increasing cyber security demands and the use of mobile devices in organisations.

The MBO will see changes to Smoothwall’s management structure, with former COO, Michael Marks, moving into the position of CEO and founders of Tenzing joining the board. The incumbent senior management team will remain in place and will work alongside new chairperson, Lisa Stone, and non-executive director, Richard Hurd-Wood.

The Walker Morris Team was led by Corporate Partner, Debbie Jackson, who was supported by Laura Cavell, Adrian Moss from Corporate, Nicola Parkinson from Tax and Lorna Hopps from Employment.

Lawrence Manning commented:

“Debbie and her team at Walker Morris acted conscientiously at all times through the transaction, guiding myself and the other shareholders through the complex issues. It was very reassuring to have such a professional team working for and with us on the deal. I’d also like to wish the new owners every success with achieving their goals.”

Debbie Jackson, added:

“We are pleased to have been able to work closely with the principal shareholders on this transaction. We are confident that this financial and strategic investment from Tenzing will help to continue to drive the business forward.

The deal also reinforces Walker Morris’ reputation in the technology sector and follows our recent work advising the Bridge IT and its sale to Morson Group and advising PROACTIS on its acquisition of Perfect Commerce LLC.”

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