Clearwater International advises Newco in secondary buyout of Kirona Solutions


Living Bridge has completed the €25m secondary buyout of Kirona Solutions Holdings Limited (‘Kirona’). The original buyout in 2011 was funded by the management team and LDC, and both retain an ongoing interest in Kirona as a result of the transaction.

Based in Cheshire, Kirona is a leading provider of Field Force Automation solutions supporting more than 25,000 mobile workers across the globe. The software and services enable Kirona’s clients to automatically schedule jobs, improve productivity and streamline workflows by connecting clients, the office and mobile workforces more effectively.

More than 300 clients from both the public and private sectors benefit from Kirona’s fully end-to-end approach that incorporates software and transformation services. The Kirona technology is offered through leading resellers and distributors including BT, Vodafone, Northgate Information Solutions, Capita and Civica.

The business was founded in 2003 by David Murray and Neil Harvey. Kirona has since gone on to develop Mobile and Dynamic Scheduling solutions for the Housing, Government and Enterprise Field service markets.

In 2012, Kirona acquired Xmbrace – the market-leading provider of dynamic scheduling software to the UK housing market – and the business will look to make further acquisitions over the coming years.

The investment by Living Bridge will support the business as it continues to  enhance and develop its product suite for clients within both the private and public sectors, and further expand its services internationally.

The Living Bridge investment was led by the Manchester-based team of Pete Clarke, Nick Holder, Mo Aneese and Oliver Mauldridge, with Pete Clarke joining the Board.

The transaction was completed with support from Clearwater International, who provided debt advisory services. The Clearwater International team was led by partner Mark Taylor, supported by associate director Tom Barnwell and associate Oliver Wheatley.

Gunnercooke acted as legal adviser to Living Bridge, with Pinsent Masons and Gateley acting for Management and LDC respectively. Banking facilities were provided by RBS via a package of senior debt plus working capital facilities. RBS were advised by Addleshaw Goddard.

Mark Taylor, partner and head of Clearwater International’s Debt Advisory team, said: “We have enjoyed working closely with Kirona’s strong management team over recent years. By partnering with Living Bridge, supplemented by the continued backing of LDC, Kirona have two of the most successful investment partners in our region to support their continued growth trajectory. The funding provided by RBS will give further assistance to this end.”

David Murray, CEO of Kirona, commented: “The business has a tremendous market opportunity as the investment case for our software and services becomes increasingly compelling for organisations across both the public and private sectors. We have completed this transaction quickly, within ten weeks of agreeing a deal with Living Bridge, and now look forward to working with them to further the success of Kirona.”

Pete Clarke, partner at Living Bridge, added: “The field force automation market is worth in excess of €600m p.a. in the UK, and is growing at double digit rates as organisations look to get the productivity and service level improvements that mobile enterprise technology can bring. David, Neil and the team have built Kirona into a strong player in the market and we are delighted to be partnering with them during the next stage of Kirona’s development. The Clearwater International team led by Mark Taylor arranged a bespoke financing package which will assist with Kirona’s strategic aspirations.”