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ECI Partners backs buyout of healthcare IT firm Ascribe

Ascribe, a UK healthcare IT business, has reached agreement on a recommended offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of the company for 28 pence per share in cash, va

Ascribe, a UK healthcare IT business, has reached agreement on a recommended offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of the company for 28 pence per share in cash, valuing it at GBP33.3m.

The offer is to be funded by the existing management team, ECI and Yorkshire Bank’s corporate and structured finance team.

The Manchester office of pan-European investment banking group, Altium, advised Scroll Bidco, a company established for the purposes of making the offer, and the management team of Ascribe.

Altium assisted the Bolton-based healthcare IT specialist, having been appointed to structure the transaction, select a private equity provider, raise bank finance to support the deal and advise Scroll Bidco in making the offer.

ECI has partnered with Yorkshire Bank, led by Owen Malton and Roddy Kilpatrick, to fund the buyout, which subject to shareholder approval, will see the company leave AIM early in the New Year and return to management hands.

Hammonds provided legal advice to ECI and Scroll Bidco. The Hammonds team was led by Jane Haxby, together with Andrew Millar, Giles Chesher and Jonathan Edwards.

The transaction will provide Ascribe with the flexibility and long-term financial support to enable it to continue to develop software products and to continue its acquisition strategy.

Stephen Critchlow, chief executive of Ascribe, says: ‘I am delighted we have been able to fund this buyout in such a challenging environment. This not only allows us to offer our shareholders a premium for their shares but also allows us to finance our business plan appropriately, both by making careful investment in a common product, sales and implementation strategy and by having significant funds for further acquisitions.’

Mike Fletcher, managing director of corporate finance at Altium, adds: ‘Ascribe is a market-leading business based right here on our doorstep in the North West which services not only the majority of NHS hospitals but also clients as far afield as Australia and Malaysia.

‘The business has grown consistently over the past seven years under the stewardship of Stephen Critchlow and his team, under both private and public ownership, and the transaction represents an exciting next phase in the development of the business.

‘With the support of ECI and Yorkshire Bank, Ascribe will have access to significant growth capital to execute further acquisitions and continue with its ambitious growth strategy.’

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