LDC backs Nottingham IT specialist Littlefish

Littlefish MD Steve Robinson

Managed IT Services Provider Littlefish has secured a minority investment from leading mid-market private equity investor LDC. The investment will support the management team at Littlefish to accelerate the company’s organic growth strategy. Details of the transaction are not disclosed.

Headquartered in Nottingham, Littlefish provides managed IT services, IT consultancy, cloud services and cyber security services. The company has grown a strong client base across the public and private sectors, including well-known names such as Blackstone Property Management, Farrow & Ball, Studio Canal, PDSA, NSK and Macquarie Energy, and it currently supports more than 35,000 users worldwide with a 24/7/365 service.

Led by Chairman Graham Gilbert, Chief Executive Steve Robinson and Services Director Richard Roome, Littlefish has averaged annual growth of over 40% in recent years. The business is on track to record revenues of £18million for the current financial year, up from £1million in 2010. Today, the firm employs more than 200 people across its Service Centres in Nottingham and Greater Manchester.

LDC’s minority investment will enable Graham, Steve and Richard, who remain as majority shareholders, to accelerate their current growth strategy through investment in new products and services, including its nascent cyber security offering. As part of the deal, LDC has also committed to providing further follow-on funding for complementary acquisitions.

Commenting on the deal, Steve Robinson, Chief Executive at Littlefish said: “We have a fantastic team at Littlefish and with their hard work and dedication we’ve been able to grow the business into a truly formidable player. We know what our customers want and how to deliver it successfully. To embark on the next stage of our strategy we need to bring a partner on board that will give us the firepower to build on this momentum and scale, as we continue to successfully compete against our much larger rivals.

“Our partnership with LDC will allow us to do just that. The LDC team is committed to our ongoing journey and their flexibility, strategic expertise and financial support will help accelerate our growth plan. Their considered approach, and comprehensive understanding on what we want to achieve made LDC the right fit for us and we’re looking forward to working with them as we continue to take our market-leading services to more customers.”

The transaction was led by Investment Directors David Bains and John Green at LDC in Nottingham.

David Bains, Investment Director at LDC, said: “Since Graham, Steve and Richard acquired Littlefish in 2010 they have diversified and transformed the business. Its year-on-year growth demonstrates the strength of the proposition they have developed, as well as their unwavering focus on quality and customer service. They have built an enviable offer and despite the firm’s success so far, Littlefish is still only at the beginning of its journey.

“We know the business well and the ambition, drive and vision the team has demonstrated over the past eight years is exactly what we look for in a management team. It’s an exciting time for Littlefish and we’re looking forward to supporting the next stage of the company’s development.”

Debt facilities were provided by HSBC to support the transaction.

LDC was advised by Gateley PLC (legal), BDO (tax), RSM (financial due diligence), Armstrong (commercial due diligence) and Silxo (IT due diligence).

Littlefish was advised by Clearwater International, Browne Jacobson (legal) and KPMG (tax).