Tom Keighley

Swindon IT firm in MBO

Swindon IT company, Excalibur have secured funding for a management buoyout in order to make way for growth.

The move, which gives chief executive officer James Phipps an 80% stake, is expected to drive revenues and create new jobs as it looks for both organic and acquisition-driven expansion.

Phipps, who was named 2012 Wiltshire Business Person of the Year, and joined Excalibur in 1999 and became managing director in 2010.During his time the company has pursued an acquisition programme, and this MBO is aimed at gearing the firm towards new trends in the IT industry.

Managing director and Excalibur founder Gary Wetherall is set to step down as part of the deal, but will retain a stake in the business.

James Phipps said: “Revenues are up 50% on this time last year but we think there is scope for further growth in this market. I am keen to push the boundaries of this business and to ensure we continue to meet and exceed our customers’ needs and expectations. HSBC’s role was critical in this MBO and we see the bank as a valued and long-term partner.”

HSBC’s Wiltshire Commercial team provided the finance package, which includes extended working capital facilities, and advisers on the deal included Grant Thornton, Thrings Solicitors and Bond Pearce.

The Thrings team was led by Head of South West Corporate John Davies, who was assisted by Simon Hore.

Mr Davies said: “Thanks to the prompt and commercial instructions we received from James and his team, we were able to meet the tight timescale for completion of the MBO of this dynamic and successful business. I would like to wish James and his team continued success in the future.”

Mark Taylor, a partner with Grant Thornton, added: “We are delighted that we played a part in the MBO, which is an important next step in the development of the business. The opportunities for the business are significant and we look forward to seeing the management team take advantage of those opportunities.”

Excalibur provides mobile communication, telecoms and IT services to over 5,000 businesses across the UK.

As part of the MBO, James Phipps has appointed four new senior managers, including: Dave Wardell, former head of global sales at Nokia Siemens Networks, as sales director; Tim O’Donnell, former VP of operations at IT services company Sentaca, as operations director; Sally Parker as service delivery manager; and Melanie Stevens as HR manager.

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