YFM backs Business Collaborator buyout
Business Collaborator, the Reading-headquartered developer of a web-based project collaboration system, has been bought by its management team with the backing of private equity firm YFM Equity Partners.
The investment means the company will exit UNIT4, a Netherlands-based global software group whose UK head office is based in Bristol. However, a deal has been struck where UNIT4 will continue to resell Business Collaborator's building information modelling (BIM) software for the next three years.
It is understood the deal was worth £4m and YFM has injected £3.35m. Clients of the currently 30-strong business include Thames Water, Balfour Beatty and Costain, while it has more than 160,000 users of its software.
As part of the deal, Richard Beaton has joined the board of Business Collaborator as chairman. He has extensive experience in construction technology having built up an ERP group with YFM backing. He then sold it to Sage before buying it back in 2013.
The company expects the construction technology industry to offer a major area of growth. A total of 54 per cent of construction professionals used its BIM systems in 2014, up from 13 per cent last year.
A team from Clearwater International team, led by head of TMT Carl Houghton and associate director Andy Dyer, advised Business Collaborator on the takeover.
Houghton said: "Whilst it has taken some time to mature, we are very bullish about the growth of quality BIM assets and we are delighted to help the team to carve out Business Collaborator from its corporate parent.
"We have seen a number of BIM related software businesses go for strong valuations recently and private equity interest in the sector is at an all-time high."