PS Financials

Deal summary

PS Financials is an award-winning financial management software business serving the commercial, not-for-profit and education sectors. The business uses its unique unified ledger architecture to deliver a powerful yet easy-to-use accounting software solution, either on-premise or in the cloud. The business serves a range of organisations, ranging from primary and secondary schools (for example AET) through to international charities (for example Fairtrade Foundation) and commercial enterprises (for example Virgin Hotels).

Managing Director Richard Pierce founded the business in 2001 and developed the unified ledger software into an ERP alternative to international charity organisations. The business has always been the software author and provides support from its UK-based support centre.

The Government launched an initiative in 2008 to enable schools to run as autonomous enterprises, independent of local authority control. Schools become academies and are then required to prepare comprehensive financial information on a frequent basis. PS Financials enables those enterprises, particularly complex multi-academy trusts, to deliver the required reports with ease. The business now serves over 2,500 academies across England.

We were formally appointed by the shareholders due to our experience in the Education and TMT sectors and our ability to access large multinational businesses. We were appointed to find a suitable acquirer for the business and deliver a successful sale transaction. 

What difference did we make?

At the outset, we undertook a comprehensive strategic exit review which included an in depth assessment of trade buyer appetite worldwide (using our international partnership). Our strategic review also identified a number of preparing for sale actions. This included supporting management to develop their business plan and financial projection model. We were also involved in detailed work alongside other advisers to ensure clarity was given on an existing share option scheme and closure of an historical pension liability.

Given the quality of the asset and management team, some favourable market drivers and a credible growth plan, PS Financials represented an attractive investment opportunity to both trade and financial investors.

In order to deliver a smooth and efficient sale process, we commenced a phase of preparatory work.  This included finalising the business plan and completing a comprehensive vendor due diligence programme to facilitate the sale process. 

We were then able to market the business to a number of interested parties. IRIS stepped forward with a comprehensive offer which stood out on the basis of deliverability, price and strategic fit. 

Following the initial offer, we negotiated a number of key principles upfront to ensure there was little room for manoeuvre during the sale process. 

We completed the sale within six weeks of the initial offer, demonstrating the value of detailed business preparation and a well-tailored deal strategy. The deal was a highly successful exit for the shareholders, all of whom are also continuing with the business. In IRIS, the management team have secured a partner with a successful track record of investing and growing businesses in complementary sectors.

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