Lloyds’ LDC invests in Bellshill’s Kick ICT as BGF exits


LDC, the private equity investor which is part of Lloyds Banking Group, said it has made a significant investment in Kick ICT, Scotland’s largest independent IT managed service provider.

The transaction represents a successful exit for growth capital investor BGF which has backed Kick ICT since 2021.

LDC said that, based in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, Kick ICT provides “business-critical IT managed, communications and digital transformation services” to over 1,000 customers across a wide range of sectors.

Kick ICT, which employs over 170 staff, specialises in business and finance solutions from Microsoft and Infor, alongside modern infrastructure, cloud and IT support.

Founded in 2015, Kick ICT has grown rapidly over the last eight years by executing an ambitious acquisitive growth strategy.

In November 2023 it made its ninth acquisition – Dundee-based C2 Software Limited – to expand its specialist Microsoft Dynamics offering to customers across the UK.

“LDC’s investment and support will help Kick ICT to accelerate its UK-wide growth through further acquisitions, targeting complementary businesses in Scotland and the North of England,” said LDC.

“The firm is backing Kick ICT’s existing management team, led by CEO Tom O’Hara and Group Sales Director Alan Turnbull, who each have more than 30 years’ industry experience. Geoff Neville will continue as Chairman.

“The investment was led by LDC Investment Directors Lee Donaldson and Aaron Lawson-Clark and Investment Manager Emma Borrie.”

Kick ICT CEO Tom O’Hara said: “Our business has achieved exceptional growth over the last few years.

“We’ve continued to invest in our technology and people, and brought a number of exciting, innovative companies into the group to expand the range of services and levels of expertise that we provide to our customers.

“The team at LDC have a great deal of hands-on experience in helping businesses like ours to grow through acquisition, making them the perfect partner as we expand our presence in Scotland and across the UK.”

Lee Donaldson, Investment Director at LDC in Scotland, added: “The rapid pace of digitalisation across the economy means dynamic businesses like Kick ICT will be at the forefront of growth across the UK ICT sector in the years ahead.

“Tom and Alan are committed and ambitious founders, and we’re excited to support them, alongside the rest of the management team, as they continue their impressive run of acquisitions to drive growth and expand the business outside Scotland.”

Kick ICT was advised by Anderson Anderson & Brown (AAB) (Corporate Finance) and MBM Commercial (Legal).

LDC was advised by PWC (Corporate Finance and Tax), Pinsent Masons (Legal), BDO (Financial DD) and Armstrong (Commercial DD).

BGF said it originally invested £8.5 million in Kick ICT in 2021 and has worked with the company since then to support its growth, capabilities and market presence.

“The BGF exit, which was led by BGF investor Richard Pugh, delivered 2x money multiple (MM) and a 38% internal rate of return on the investment,” said BGF.

“This was a strong return for BGF in a relatively short period of time, reflecting the excellent performance of the business and level of future opportunity.”

O’Hara said: “BGF’s investment in 2021 allowed us to continue to deliver our ambitious growth strategy, and they were a fantastic partner as we implemented our buy and build approach, and strengthened the senior team in preparation for the scale of opportunity we see in front of us.

“This will now continue with LDC, and we are excited about the opportunities ahead.”

Pugh said: “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Tom and the team at Kick ICT to deliver fantastic business growth since our original investment in 2021.

“Rapid progress meant all parties were able to realise their objectives ahead of schedule, and now with the incoming investment from LDC, the time was right for us to exit the business.

“We look forward to seeing Kick ICT go from strength to strength in future.”