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Sala Merges with EDM

UK-based LDC‘s Sala International has merged with ECI Partners-backed EDM Group. The 52 million pound (US$81.4 million) merger marks an exit for ECI and will create one of the UK’s largest providers of outsourced information management services.

Sala International, the document archiving and records storage business backed by mid-market private equity house LDC, has merged with EDM Group, the document management business backed by ECI Partners.

The 52 million pound (US$81.4 million) merger, which sees ECI Partners exit its investment, creates one of the UK’s largest providers of outsourced information management services.

LDC originally invested 11.5 million pounds (US$18 million) in Sala International in December 2010 as part of a buy and build strategy. This was followed by an additional 4.2 million pounds (US$6.6 million) funding package to acquire two complementary businesses, Arrow Imaging and Microstat.

To fund the merger, LDC has provided a substantial further injection of equity funding, alongside support provided by Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Acquisition Finance.

The enlarged business, which will operate as EDM Group, will provide one of the industry’s most comprehensive and advanced offerings, combining market-leading services in digital mailroom, print room, document digitisation, records management, online document hosting and SaaS solutions for business process management.

Collectively, the Group will continue to focus on expanding its services in the core sectors of financial services, business services and healthcare, where its customers include Avis Europe, Nationwide Building Society, Companies House, Legal & General, Grant Thornton and numerous healthcare providers including many NHS Trusts, Bupa and BMI hospitals.

With its enhanced offering, EDM Group will focus on helping organisations reduce customer service costs and meet their compliance requirements, using its expertise in workflow, outsourcing and paperless technology to enable more effective use, creation and storage of documents.

It will now have the capacity to digitize 500 million documents per year, either hosting them securely online or physically storing them within the company’s secure records management facilities, which have 500 thousand square feet of storage and 50 miles of live file storage.

Sam Ferguson will take the role of CEO. Mark Jones will be the EDM Group CFO, with Tomas Gronager, Sala International CEO taking up the role of COO.

Yann Souillard and Alex Clark of LDC will join the board as non-executive directors.

Speaking about the merger, Sam Ferguson, CEO of EDM Group, says:

“It’s great to see two high growth and ambitious information management companies join forces to leverage each other’s key strengths, in turn providing a unique proposition that is of benefit to our new combined customer base. The merger is the latest development in the ongoing growth and evolution of the company and we will continue to invest in facilities, technology and staff to build our business expertise, innovative technology and robust outsourcing capabilities.”

Yann Souillard, Managing Director of LDC, said:

“As a result of the merger, EDM Group can now offer its customers a far more enhanced and enlarged proposition, encompassing the full spectrum of outsourced information management services underpinned by market-leading technology and processes. As companies come under increasing pressure to achieve cost efficiency and regulatory compliance, the group has an enormous opportunity to accelerate its growth and capture a larger market share.”

John Hayhurst, Director of ECI Partners, commented:

“It has been a pleasure to work with Sam (who we brought him into EDM in 2006) and Mark (who helped put the original deals together). During the course of Sam’s stewardship EDM substantially increased staff numbers and also, with investment from ECI, significantly developed EDM’s technology based workflow solutions. The historical development of EDM with ECI’s support and its current merger with Sala with support from LDC is a striking example of private equity as a driving force for good in the UK economy. We wish Sam, Mark and all the team the best of luck for the future.”

ENDS 10 October 2011

Press information: Martin Currie, Citypress. T 0161 235 0310/07976 291532; E