Advanced Software Group flogs £2bn stake to private equity biz that owned Phones4U

And look how BC Partners' ownership went for them

Man sloppily eats a hamburger... chips and pickle fall out. Photo by Shutterstock

A British cloud software company has sold a 50 per cent stake to the private equity firm that owned British phone retailer Phones4U at the time of the company's demise.

The lucky recipient of a reported £2bn is Slough's Advanced Computer Software Group, a cloud migration services outfit.

Advanced's new part-owner is BC Partners, last seen on The Register when Phones4U went into administration in 2014, taking thousands of jobs with it. As we reported at the time, BC Partners had absorbed around £200m from Phones4U to pay out a "special dividend" to the financier – allowing it to recoup its original investment plus a big whack of interest – before the phones firm went under with a crippling debt on its balance sheet.

Back in 2015, Advanced was itself acquired by private equity firm Vista Equity Partners for £725m. Vista, which described itself at the time as "acquiring enterprise application software and software enabled companies", appears to be sharing its ownership of Advanced, with a canned statement informing us that it will "continue as an investor, partnering with BC Partners and the Advanced team to accelerate adoption of the company's cloud-based ERP, vertical market and application modernisation software solutions."

As reported previously, Advanced spent most of this decade quietly buying out other small and medium-sized software companies. The firm boasts that it has "launched 14 cloud-based SaaS solutions and completed six acquisitions".

"Vista and BC Partners share our vision for the future and will work to support our growth, benefiting our customers through continued improvement of our cloud-based software solutions and extending our offering through M&A and further innovation," burbled Gordon Wilson, Advanced chief exec in a canned statement.

Robert F Smith, chief exec of Vista Equity Partners, chipped in to say: "Since 2015, we have worked closely with Gordon and the Advanced team to transform the company into a leader in business software solutions. We are proud of the success the company has achieved and we are thrilled to have BC Partners join as an investment partner as we look forward to the company's next phase of growth."

BC Partners' lead deal partner, Philipp Schwalber, trilled: "We see significant, long-term potential to build on what Advanced has accomplished over the past four years, including its strong track record providing mission-critical ERP, vertical market and application modernization software solutions to its over 19,000 customers."

The Daily Telegraph reported that among Advanced's customers are the NHS, British Gas, National Express, the BBC and Virgin Atlantic, with its products including "ticket systems for sports and events at stadiums and technology used to process Gift Aid donations". ®

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