MHA Moore and Smalley advises on sale of Lancashire e-commerce software business

MHA Moore and Smalley has been involved in a deal that has seen a Lancashire-headquartered ecommerce and online retail software provider acquired by a London-based tech group.

Preston-based EKM has been acquired by ClearCourse Partnership, a group of technology companies providing software solutions.

The acquisition will strengthen ClearCourse’s e-commerce and online retail capabilities while EKM and its customers will benefit from the integration of ClearCourse’s proprietary payments platform, ClearAccept – alongside leading global players.

Brands across the ClearCourse Partnership will also reap the rewards of EKM’s acquisition. Those in the firm’s retail division, such as Swan Retail and The EPOS Bureau, will also gain from EKM’s e-commerce offering.

Antony Chesworth, founder and managing director of EKM, said: “We are excited to be joining the ClearCourse Group, which will enable us to take the next steps in our nearly 20-year journey to help even more people to spend life doing something they love with their own easy-to-use online shop.

“The range of services, products and expertise within ClearCourse offers great synergies to our customers and will help us to grow their online businesses even further.”

Gerry Gualtieri, chief executive of ClearCourse, added: “We are very pleased to announce that EKM will be joining the ClearCourse Group. It is a fantastic business which has grown from strength to strength since its inception, and we are excited to learn from the expertise of Antony and his team. EKM will bring a range of positive synergies to ClearCourse and our existing brands, and its acquisition will be a significant expansion of our e-commerce and retail offering.”

EKM, founded in 2002, has developed software that powers over £350m of online transactions annually for SME online retailers.

The business has been a longstanding client of MHA Moore and Smalley. The firm advised EKM on accountancy and tax aspects of the transaction led by corporate partner Paul Williams and tax director David Hackett.

Paul Williams comments: “We’re really pleased for Antony and his team who have shown great vision and leadership to grow the business into what it is today. Both businesses will benefit significantly from this transaction which offers a great springboard for further growth.”

EKM’s advisory team also included Napthens for legal advice and Convex Capital for finance. ClearCourse was advised by Squire Patton Boggs (legal), Alvarez & Marsal (finance and tax), and Crosslake (technical due diligence).

The financial terms of the deal are undisclosed.