High Wycombe: Complete IT sold to Sharp Electronics

Complete IT, the IT services company that supports over 350 businesses, has been acquired by Sharp Electronics (Europe) in a deal advised by Grant Thornton.

Based at High Wycombe, Complete IT offers support, cloud solutions and software services, and has operated since 1992. Clients range from the Old Parsonage Hotel to Reading Buses.

Turnover in 2018 was £14.7 million and pre-tax profits £829,000.

Grant Thornton said: “(Our) team spent time with the shareholders to ensure that they had a thorough understanding of the business and to ensure that they could clearly define and articulate the unique value drivers of CIT. The team took a very hands-on approach to providing support to management in preparing for the process, including ensuring that the detailed financial analysis supported the value proposition in the information memorandum. Drawing on Grant Thornton’s networks in the UK and globally, the team built a list of acquirers that represented a strategic fit with CIT and with the capacity to meet the shareholders’ value aspirations.

“Through initial discussions with buyers, it quickly became apparent that a number of management print providers were actively seeking to bolster their capabilities through IT service acquisitions and Grant Thornton narrowed the bidder field to a shortlist with strong strategic appetite and cultural fit with CIT’s team. Sharp’s team represented a strong strategic and cultural fit for the CIT team and the cross-selling opportunity between the two businesses is a strong driver for the growth of both. 

“Grant Thornton led negotiations on behalf of the shareholders, ensuring that the value of CIT was fully understood and that the deal was structured so as to optimise the opportunity for both CIT and Sharp. The team provided support throughout the process, project managing, dealing with commercial negotiations and liaising with other advisers to bring the deal to fruition.”

Wendy Hart, corporate finance partner, stated; “We are delighted to have helped to find new ownership for CIT where the business and its’ people can continue to grow and thrive. We have thoroughly enjoyed working with the shareholders of CIT and their wider team to close this transaction which we believe represents a great result for everyone concerned. We wish CIT and Sharp all the very best for an exciting future.”

Colin Blumenthal, managing director of Complete IT, added: “Wendy Hart and her team provided us with a pragmatic and hands-on approach to the deal. This approach ensured that over the months that the deal progressed, we were able to work our way through the intricacies of the deal and crucially, continue to run the business as normal. The level of detail surrounding all the required documentation in the data room was first class, and along with their ability to offer insightful and strategic deal advice at the required times, meant that this exciting deal came to a successful conclusion for all concerned.”

Sharp was advised by Avondale Corporate.

Kevin Uphill, Avondale Corporate director, stated: “Strategic acquisitions within the highly fragmented UK managed IT services market present real differential opportunity for larger providers as the market continues the process of polarisation between local service providers and those providers with a genuine national footprint such as Sharp.”