MHA Moore and Smalley advises on Midlands data and technology firm buyout

A Midlands-based technology business providing data services to the motor insurance sector has been acquired through a buy-in management buyout supported by MHA Moore and Smalley.

Whichrate, headquartered in Uttoxeter, provides historical data through a bespoke internally developed software solution for vehicle hire rates, helping to inform national insurance and legal firms on disputed or fraudulent credit hire claims. The company employs around 50 staff and its clients include numerous blue-chip insurance providers.

It has been purchased by current company secretary Paul Roscoe and long-standing business partner Dave Gardner.

The deal will see the current owners step back from the business whilst remaining available for consultation. The buyers were advised by accountancy and business advisory firm MHA Moore and Smalley and the deal was funded through a loan provided by Shawbrook Bank.

The new management team plans to accelerate the firm’s growth over the coming years.

Dave Gardner said: “It was a straightforward decision for us to acquire Whichrate with such a solid reputation and market position. MHA Moore and Smalley’s corporate expertise along with their personal approach and complete support made it a seamless process.

“Shawbrook Bank’s commercial common sense and commitment to delivering exactly as they promised from the outset made them the ideal funding partner to get this deal completed and to help the new leadership team develop the business further.”

MHA Moore and Smalley’s advisory team was led by head of corporate finance, Andrew Feeke, alongside corporate finance assistant manager Robert Holgate. David Hackett provided tax advice.

David Mkhitarian, Sean Lightfoot, and Graeme Anderson from Hill Dickinson provided legal advice to the buyers.

Robert Holgate, MHA Moore and Smalley, said: “We are seeing huge interest across the UK in technology focused SaaS based companies such as Whichrate, which have a solid business model underpinned by strong technology.

“The tech sector is undergoing exponential growth, hence is a clear focus for MHA Moore and Smalley’s corporate finance team. We are delighted to have been able to use our experience and knowledge to structure a great deal for our client.

“We look forward to a strong continuing relationship with Dave and Paul as they look to grow the business over the coming years.”

Daniel Martin, senior director, Shawbrook Bank, said: “Whichrate is a true specialist in its field, using cloud-based systems to collate and analyse vast quantities of data, which it then makes available to an impressive roster of clients.

“The new owners have a unique knowledge of the business and the new management team is impressive. An established yet ambitious specialist business, navigating a change of ownership, Whichrate is exactly the type of client that Shawbrook is ideally positioned to support – and we’re delighted to do so.”

Matt Beckley from DTE Business Advisers provided financial due diligence services to Shawbrook for the transaction and Debra Cooper from Shoosmiths provided legal support.

From the acquisition team, Dave Gardner has held director roles at several companies, using his entrepreneurial skills to establish and grow businesses in a variety of sectors over 25 years.

Dave has also provided consultancy advice to a range of businesses, initially meeting Whichrate as part of a consultancy engagement.

Paul Roscoe has been involved in the industry for 14 years and is the current finance director for Whichrate, having worked with the business from its inception.