Advanced secures £2bn investment

Advanced, the UK’s third largest software company with nearly 20,000 customers and revenues in excess of £250m, has closed a deal with BC Partners and Vista Capital at £2bn. The investment, which will provide roughly £1.2bn of working capital, will be used to bolster its existing range of applications and make further acquisitions. BC Partners has bought a 50 percent stake in the business while incumbent venture capital partner, Vista Equity Partners, has retained the other 50 percent. Vista bought Advanced in 2015 for £750m.

Advanced provides software solutions across vertical markets and has historically focussed on the healthcare, sport, travel, NFP and education sectors. Its solutions support 65 million patients in the UK, manage over £1bn in charity donations, and get over 1.2 billion passengers to their destinations on time.

Commenting on the deal and what it would mean for Advanced customers, Gordon Wilson, CEO at Advanced said: “It’s business as usual. The fact we’ve got a different set of investors doesn’t change what we’re doing other than we have to drive it harder with the new investment that’s coming in. We want to be the best business software provider in the UK, and by ‘best’ I don’t mean necessarily the biggest. I mean, highest quality, best delivery, support that’s par-excellence and a relationship with longevity.”

Since 2015 the firm has hired nearly 1,000 additional staff to support its growth and has made seven acquisitions, the most notable being those of Modern Systems, Oyez Professional Services and Kirona.

Wilson said: “With the addition of Modern Systems to the Advanced portfolio, we are dramatically speeding up our customers’ ability to remove key barriers to achieving digital transformation. Additionally, Kirona and Oyez represent a significant boost to our cloud capabilities. Oyez Professional Services represent a strong opportunity to bolster our existing legal practice management and forms solutions, while Kirona extends our human capital management offerings to public, private and third sector customers.

Following these acquisitions and a retooling of some existing products, Advanced now offers 14 separate cloud-based applications and a host of other more traditional software solutions. The challenge for Advanced is to bring all the products into a coherent suite with a common look and feel and build out the offering with a strong vertical focus. Advanced already services more than a dozen sectors with software as diverse as sports ticketing, membership, fundraising, patient record and legal management, as well as core financial, HR and payroll capabilities. With more acquisitions to come Advanced will need to ensure they retain their focus on building value-add capability where products and services dovetail rather than building a Chinese menu style offering.