US software giant snaps up e-commerce company


Freeway Commerce, the fastest growing provider of electronic trading systems in the UK, has been acquired by the US software company Inovis Inc for an undisclosed sum.

Clearwater Corporate Finance advised the shareholders of Freeway on the sale. Freeway, which is based in Preston with a sales office in Delph, near Oldham, supplies electronic data interchange (EDI) systems which allows companies to trade electronically with both suppliers and customers.

Established in 1998 to develop the next generation of EDI and e-commerce solutions, Freeway now employs 44 staff and supports around 2,000 clients ranging from small businesses to blue-chip companies including Tesco, Argos, Iceland, Boots, Asda and Virgin Retail. The company has been expanding rapidly with double digit sales growth over the past few years.

Freeway’s products offer customers large and small the opportunity to implement a cost-effective EDI solution and one which can link with their existing systems including enterprise resource planning (ERP) and back office systems.

Inovis, which is based in Atlanta and has a UK office in Guildford, is one of the world’s largest providers of business to business IT solutions, delivering products and services to over 20,000 customers worldwide.

Carl Houghton of Clearwater said: “Freeway redefined the UK’s EDI and e-commerce market by offering cost-effective, off-the-shelf products that could link to firms’ existing IT systems. The company now has a loyal following among clients both large and small and is well placed to take advantage of future opportunities in this growing market.”

“The acquisition will provide Inovis with additional support and services in the UK and help it to accelerate its expansion in Europe. Meanwhile Freeway customers will benefit from Inovis’ software platforms that allow companies to achieve better lines of communication with their business partners.”