U.K.-based Maru Group Ltd received an equity investment of up to 45 million pounds ($62.72 million) from Primary Capital Partners LLP. Maru Group is a newly formed buy and build vehicle created to develop a company that provides research, insight and advisory services to enterprises. Concurrent with the investment, Maru Group acquired eDigitalResearch Ltd, a U.K.-based customer insight company.
Maru Group also agreed to acquire the North American business of Vision Critical Research and Consulting, the research and consulting division of Vision Critical Communications Inc, a customer intelligence platform.
Terms of both transactions were undisclosed.
Primary Capital Partners LLP (Primary”) is pleased to announce an equity investment of up to £45 million in Maru Group Limited (“MARU Group”). MARU Group is a newly formed buy and build vehicle created to build a technology-enabled, professional services firm, delivering information and customer insight services globally. MARU Group’s strategy is to combine a technology driven approach with deep thinking and a focus on actionable outputs for clients.
Concurrent with Primary’s investment, MARU Group is pleased to announce its first acquisition, eDigitalResearch Ltd (“eDR”). Headquartered in Southampton, eDigitalResearch is a market leading Voice of Customer business with its own proprietary technology infrastructure, “HUB”. Founded by Michelle Fuller and Chris Russell in 1999, eDR has grown to around 150 insight professionals and developers working with a range of blue-chip organisations across markets and sectors and has developed a strong reputation for innovation and excellent account management. eDR’s core HUB technology platform will now become an integral part of MARU Group’s future developments, enabling it to deliver technology-focused insight and intelligence.
MARU Group is led by Ged Parton, who most recently held Global CEO roles at Synovate and Ipsos. eDR’s Chief Technical Officer, Shane Wright, will take on the position of MARU Group’s CTO. Both Ged and Shane will continue to work closely with eDR’s current board of directors, including Managing Director Steve Brockway.
Ged Parton, CEO of MARU Group, commented, “Our vision with MARU Group is to build a new kind of professional services firm with technology in its DNA. The acquisition of eDigital Research is an important step to achieve this vision. The company has an outstanding technology backbone which will become an integral part of the MARU Group technology ecosystem. We see tremendous potential in the deep talent in the eDR team and believe the combination of technology and advisory skills can deliver our client promise of fast and strategic customer feedback”.
Following on from the acquisition of eDR, MARU Group is also pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement to acquire the North American business of Vision Critical Research and Consulting (VCRC), the research and consulting division of Vision Critical Communications Inc. (“VCCI”). VCRC is a leading provider of research and consulting services to Fortune 500 companies in North America and following its spin-off from VCCI will become a strategic partner to VCCI. Once completed, VCRC’s combination with eDR will form the basis of Maru Group’s international growth strategy. The transaction is expected to close at the end of Q1 2016.
Graham Heddle, the Partner at Primary who led both transactions, commented “We are delighted to provide a significant investment in MARU Group to enable Ged and his team to achieve their ambitions to build a highly differentiated technology leader in the customer insight market. With operations in both Europe and North America, eDR and VCRC together represent a substantial platform in the industry for further acquisitions.”
Terms of both transaction were undisclosed.
Transaction Team and Advisers to Primary
Primary Capital Partners LLP – Graham Heddle, Alistair Armstrong, Chris Hopwood, David Richard, Neil Wallace
Corporate finance – Wyvern Partners (Anthony Gahan)
Legal – Eversheds LLP (Richard Moulton, Louise Finnie, Emily Dupee, Alex Mccarney)
Financial, tax – PwC (Matthew Cross, Peter Brook, Ravi Dhanak, Kevin Morris)
Commercial due diligence – Armstrong TS (Robin Illingworth, Chris Winslet)
Advisers to the vendors
Corporate finance – Livingstone Partners (Daniel Domberger, Nick Field, Tom Stoten)
Legal – Bond Dickinson LLP (Ian Holden)
Primary Capital Partners LLP
Primary is an independent private equity firm which invests in middle-market management buy-outs and buy-ins in the UK. With offices in London and Manchester, Primary works closely with management to develop their business by providing long-term financial resources and strategic support over a three to seven year period.
Maru Group is the third investment from its fourth £227.5 million Primary IV fund, which closed in August 2014. Other Primary investments have included GatenbySandersen, Coffee Nation, YO! Sushi, Napier Turbochargers, Paperchase, Great Rail Journeys and Leisure Pass. For further information please visit their website: www.primaryeurope.com.
Primary Capital Partners LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The material in this press release is for information purposes only and has been issued by Primary Capital Partners LLP.