Perfect MBO

July 19, 2019

UNW advises on management buyout of North East-based IT solutions provider

Independent accountancy and business advisory firm UNW has advised Perfect Image, a long- established and trusted end-to-end IT solutions provider, on a management buyout (MBO), which completed in May 2019. Chiltern Capital, a London-based private equity firm, provided financial support.

The organisation, headquartered at Cobalt Business Park, in Newcastle, delivers IT solutions, services and strategies to a variety of diverse and national clients. Taking a cloud-first approach, Perfect Image has achieved both service and technical excellence across its chosen markets. These include outsourced IT support, complex cloud and hybrid infrastructure services, and delivery of data visualisation and business analytics applications.

Perfect Image has expanded considerably since it was founded in 1991 by Andrew Robson. It now boasts a team of more than 100 dedicated specialists that help to design and deliver its transformative services and solutions. With over 28 years of experience in transforming businesses using industry-leading technologies, the company has also partnered with several innovative and market- leading technology vendors, such as Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and Qlik.

Before the MBO, Perfect Image was majority- owned by Andrew Robson alongside its former managing director. It was completed by Rob Hankin, chief executive, and Andy Smith, sales and marketing director, who both started their careers with the company in 2010 and 2008, respectively, and both had taken an active role in managing the business over the last few years.

Speaking about the motivations behind selling the business and how the shareholders found the process, Andrew said: “Having developed the company and its senior management team over the years, we were ready for a new challenge. We recognised that the current team had the ability and drive to take the company through the next stage of its journey and that they had earned the right to do that. We were delighted to be able to support them in realising their ambitions through the MBO.”

On the motivations behind selecting UNW to lead the deal, Andrew said: “After a pitching process, we knew UNW was the right advisor for us. Not only was there a cultural fit, but John Healey and Gareth Phillips from its corporate finance team took the time to do their research and understand our business. They also demonstrated extensive knowledge of the IT services sector and similar transactions that had completed in the marketplace.

“The feeling that we could rely on their support through what we knew would be a difficult process really shone through compared to other advisors we spoke to.”

Andrew remains at Perfect Image as a non- executive director following the completion of the MBO. Tom Kelly has also joined the board as the new chairman, bringing over 30 years of IT expertise. Together with Rob Hankin and Andy Smith, the board is completed by Thomas Holroyd and Mark Coronato from Chiltern Capital.

Looking to the future of Perfect Image, Andy Smith said: “This investment will allow us to continue our ambitious growth plans, to improve service delivery for our customers, and to strengthen our market position with new and innovative products and services.”

Reflecting on what was critical to the success of the transaction, Andrew Robson said: “I couldn’t praise John and Gareth highly enough. They simplified the process for us, got under the skin of the organisation, and genuinely wanted a positive outcome and for this to happen as much as we did.”


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