UK software firm acquires Galway cloud compliance company for €29.6m

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Galway’s EssentialSkillz will join Marlowe in a bid to strengthen the UK company’s risk and compliance software offering.

Galway-based e-learning and cloud compliance software provider EssentialSkillz has been acquired in a £25m (€29.6m) deal by UK software company Marlowe.

Marlowe proposed a share placing to raise £50m to fund the deal, as well as for additional bolt-on acquisitions. It has already made 20 acquisitions this year, spending close to £200m.

In a blog post, Marlowe said the company would act as a platform for its compliance software business in its governance, risk and compliance division.

“EssentialSkillz remains unchanged and will continue operating in the same way from the same location. The existing staff and senior management team will also remain unchanged, it will be business as usual,” according to the blog post.

The Galway company’s WorkWize risk and compliance platform will bolster Marlowe’s similar offering, according to the latter’s CEO Alex Dacre.

“This acquisition of EssentialSkillz is the next step in our strategy to become the compliance software market leader. EssentialSkillz is a leading compliance SaaS and e-learning business of scale and its merger with our new WorkNest platform further strengthens our one-stop-shop regulatory compliance offering for our clients.”

EssentialSkillz was founded in 2001 by husband and wife team Tony and Michelle Dervan. As well as its risk and compliance service, it also provides online courses on topics from health and safety to business.

It serves more than 500 SMEs across the UK and Ireland. Towards the end of last year, the company had around £2.3m in net assets. It is currently generating revenues of approximately £4.5m and adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) accounts for 95pc of its total revenues.

The acquisition is expected to increase Marlowe’s run rate revenues and adjusted EBITDA to around £335m and £60m respectively. It will also result in more than 10pc of the group’s run rate revenues being generated from cloud-based services.

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