Ethos Partners has acquired a majority equity interest in Miles 33 Group Ltd (“Miles 33”), a leading supplier of digital publishing solutions, in a secondary management buyout in a disposal by Ares Capital
Julian Carr and Sandy Farmer of Ethos Partners backed the management team led by Mike Moore. Lead advisory services were provided by Ian Barton and Adrian Howells of Quantuma who secured debt funding from Carmen Peacock and Peter Abel of Santander.
Ethos Partners is an innovative private investment office recently set up by Julian Carr and Brian Phillips after 25 years in the PE industry to invest their own money alongside 200 professional investors who are mainly entrepreneurs and retired private equity professionals. Ethos addresses the £3m- £8m sub-institutional equity space and primarily invests in management buy-outs.
Bracknell-based Miles 33 provides best in class software to the newspaper and publishing sectors with a focus on editorial and advertising management solutions, as well as wider corporate marketing automation software products. The business was established in 1973 and over the last 10 years has completed and integrated seven bolt-on acquisitions. It has recently developed market leading software products, Gemstone and Wave2.
The transaction will allow the firm’s organic growth to continue, particularly the further rollout of the Gemstone software and increased sales into the wider corporate market with its Wave2 product. The US is seen as a significant growth opportunity. Miles 33 already counts The Boston Globe, Maine Today Media and Record Journal among its clients.
Miles 33 has 83 full-time employees and operates worldwide, with offices in the US, Italy and Malaysia alongside its Bracknell headquarters. The business has strong recurring revenues, with EBITDA in excess of £3m.
Carmen Peacock and Peter Abel led the debt funding provided by Santander Corporate & Commercial from its £200 million Growth Capital Fund. This fund is unique in the UK commercial banking sector and addresses the gap that exists in the funding landscape between traditional bank debt and equity funding.
Quantuma, the leading business advisory firm, focuses on leading transactions and providing corporate finance and debt advisory services to mid-market clients and private equity investors. Ian Barton has known Mike Moore since 2005 when he provided advice prior to the buyout of Miles 33 by European Capital.
Julian Carr of Ethos Partners, said: “Miles 33 has a market leading suite of products and we are excited about supporting management in unlocking the future growth opportunities of the business. Our ‘ethos’ is not just to bring money to the table but also a broad base of business experience and contacts which we hope to leverage with Mike and his team to help Miles 33 to scale whilst helping its clients to use technology to address change within their markets in the UK, US , Europe and Asia‘
Mike Moore, CEO, Miles 33 Group Ltd, said: “We are looking forward to the next chapter in Miles33’s history to roll out our new products to provide best in class solutions and service to our customers. We expect to see a new phase of growth organically and we will continue to look at acquisitions to expand our reach. After a period of ownership transition, we are delighted to have true long term funding partners who are keen to support our strategy’.
Darren Hart, Head of Growth Capital, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “We are delighted to be able to support Ethos Partners and the team at Miles 33 complete this transaction. They have a fantastic business and we are confident that this funding will help them take this to the next level by targeting new markets and growing market share in existing markets like the US.”