Yorkshire advisers cascade on HR deal with IRIS

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25/04/2014

A team of Yorkshire advisers has completed a deal which sees Leeds-based Cascade HR acquired by IRIS Software Group to bolster its offering to mid-sized businesses across the UK.

The corporate finance team at accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP were lead advisers to the management team at Cascade.  M&A partner Jason Whitworth led the team, with support from James Croxen and Liam Gribben in the Leeds office.

Walker Morris provided legal advice, led by corporate partner Debbie Jackson.

Cascade, which was founded by Alan Jones in 1992, is a leading provider of mid-market HR solutions based in Pudsey.  Earlier this year, the company was recognised as one of North’s fastest growing digital and tech firms at the prestigious GP Bullhound Northern Tech Awards having grown turnover by 63 per cent in 2011 to 2013.

Jones will remain as Managing Director of the Cascade Division of IRIS, alongside his fellow directors, and will be responsible for executing the firm’s growth strategy while tapping into the combined resources of the larger group. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

With a joint customer base of more than 60,000 SMEs, this acquisition bolsters IRIS’s position as a leading player in the provision of business critical solutions to businesses across the UK.  In particular, the combined business now has a broader product set to include HR solutions alongside IRIS’s payroll applications.

Debbie Jackson, Corporate Partner who led the team at Walker Morris said:

“We are delighted to have worked with Alan Jones and his fellow directors on this acquisition. The combined businesses are a great fit and will offer a strong business critical solutions proposition. The acquisition follows several large IT/software transactions that we’ve advised on in the last six months, including the Servelec IPO, which was the largest software IPO for a decade and the £65m sale of InTechnology Managed Services Limited by InTechnology PLC. Not only does this deal reinforce our expertise in the IT/software sector but it is also an indication of the increasing activity in this market.”

Jason Whitworth, M&A partner at BDO LLP, said:

“Cascade and its management team are a fantastic local success story; one that will no doubt thrive under the IRIS banner.  This deal provides both parties with a fantastic opportunity to bolster their growth ambitions in the mid market.

“Cascade has built up an excellent reputation within a highly regulated industry, and prides itself on robust technology and exceptional client management.  As the economy makes firm strides in its recovery and large players set sights on acquisitive growth, it is companies like Cascade – those have a strong management team in place and a proven track record of growth – that will become increasingly attractive to buyers in both domestic and international markets.”

Alan Jones, Founder and Managing Director of Cascade said:

“We are very excited to join forces with IRIS which we have known and respected for many years. It’s the natural next step in Cascade’s evolution, allowing us access to a whole range of resources, skills and ideas as well as the extensive IRIS client base. We have a brilliant team at Cascade and they will be a huge asset to IRIS as we now move forward together.”

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