Clearwater International advises leading SaaS business HCSS Education on sale to Access Group


Clearwater Advisor

Clearwater International has advised the shareholders of education finance specialist HCSS Education on its sale to Access Group.

HCSS Education is an award-winning education finance software business, providing practical and effective Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions to schools. Consistently adding value through its extensive experience and knowledge of the education sector, the business’ objective is to ensure that schools, academies and local authorities have the tools, support and guidance to ensure effective financial management. Its core financial planning products are soon to be joined by a market-leading full accounting software package which will also be delivered as SaaS.

Access is a leading author of integrated business management software. Its portfolio spans solutions for ERP, finance, HR, payroll, warehousing, business intelligence, professional service automation and manufacturing. The acquisition of HCSS will broaden Access’ education solutions, which it sees as one of its key verticals, as well as continuing to shift its revenue mix towards SaaS. Access is firmly back on the acquisition trail having completed its own secondary PE deal with US backers TA Associates in January 2015 for £225m.

A team at Clearwater International advised HCSS, led by Head of TMT Carl Houghton with support from TMT Director Emma Rodgers, Associate Director Chiara Pettinicchio and Associate Aidan Miller. Stephen Gilmore and Jon Start of Emms Gilmore Liberson also advised.

“Clearwater International’s TMT team was recommended to us from other transactions they had completed in education software and having been through this deal, I’d have no hesitation in recommending them too. They brought very credible parties to the table, including Access Technologies of course, and negotiated a deal that is great for both the business and the shareholders. Selling a business is a complex issue and the team at Clearwater helped me navigate my way through the minefield. Their knowledge & understanding of the market and process was invaluable.”

Howard Jackson, Chief Executive, HCSS Education

“Education has been a very active vertical not only for our TMT team but for Business Services too. HCSS was a great business to be involved with – fully multi-tenanted SaaS, a repeat revenue model, a visionary leader in Howard who is well known and respected in the industry, all in an area of the public sector that garners cross-party political support.”

Carl Houghton, Head of TMT, Clearwater International