Arma Partners advises CoreHR, a leading cloud-based HR and payroll software provider, on its sale to The Access Group
Mar 2020
(a portfolio company of JMI Equity)
acquired by
(a portfolio company of TA Associates and Hg)
  • Sector: Application Software
  • Deal Type: Strategic Deals; Private Equity Deals
  • Engagement type: Sellside
  • Size: $200-500m
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Arma Partners is pleased to announce that it has acted as exclusive financial advisor to CoreHR (a portfolio company of JMI Equity) on its sale to The Access Group (a portfolio company of TA Associates and Hg).

Headquartered in Cork, CoreHR provides a comprehensive suite of cloud-based HR and payroll software solutions to over a million users in 270 enterprise and mid-market customers across the UK and Ireland. Since JMI Equity invested in 2016, the company has successfully transitioned its customer base from legacy perpetual licences to a SaaS model, driving value creation for both customers and shareholders.

The Access Group will combine CoreHR with its existing HR and payroll offerings to form the Access People Division, with revenues in excess of £100m and customers ranging in size from 10 employees to over 10,000. The acquisition will allow the combined business to take a bigger share of the $5.2 billion European HCM and payroll market and bring the Access Workspace suite of solutions to the Irish market.

This transaction underscores Arma Partners’ ability to deliver highly successful outcomes for companies transitioning to a SaaS model and reinforces the firm’s strong track record in the payroll and HCM software sector.

Based in the Irish city of Cork, CoreHR provides a fully integrated, cloud-based suite of HR and payroll products to enterprise and mid-market businesses in the UK and Ireland

Serving over a million users across 270 customers, its offering includes people management, payroll, workforce management, recruitment, talent management and on-the-job learning solutions

Customers include public and private organisations across the British and Irish markets, such as Cineworld, JD Sports and the University of Oxford

In the years immediately preceding the transaction, CoreHR successfully transitioned its entire customer base from legacy on-premise contracts (with several product versions supported) to a SaaS model while simultaneously realising strong organic growth

Founded in 1991 and backed by TA Associates and Hg, The Access Group is a leading vendor of mission-critical business software in the UK, primarily serving SME and mid-market organisations

Access offers a unified platform with a range of enterprise software solutions, in which finance and HR applications are integrated with industry-specific solutions, all serving key verticals including the recruitment, hospitality, manufacturing, distribution, health & social care, not-for-profit and education sectors

With 12 acquisitions in the past 3 years, Access has built a highly effective M&A platform, with a track record of realising significant value through cross-selling, operational enhancements and product integration

The combination creates a leading player in HCM in the UK and Ireland, with revenues from this sector in excess of £100m

The rationale is underpinned by the following thesis:

The retention of Dean Forbes (CoreHR CEO) to lead and expand the combined HCM division, renamed Access People, which will benefit from considerably increased scale in its main markets

Integrate CoreHR into Access’ suite of products

Cross-selling of the Access Workspace solutions (particularly digital learning, employee screening and pay on demand) to the CoreHR customer base

Continued focus on winning new logos in both mid-market and enterprise segments through the enlarged end-to-end HCM offering

Leveraging Access’ offshore delivery platform to improve margins

The newly formed Access People Division plans to double revenue to £200m by 2024, enabled by the larger market potential following this transaction as  it now serves customers with 10 to 10,000+ employees

Arma acted as exclusive financial advisor to CoreHR in securing a successful sale to The Access Group

Arma supported CoreHR on a variety of activities, including the strategic positioning of the business and the preparation of a detailed financial model and marketing materials

Arma helped the Board in navigating inbound interest from several strategic buyers and provided the access to key decision-makers that allowed CoreHR to run a highly targeted and efficient set of discussions

Arma provided further support through the coordination of the diligence process, provision of tactical advice to the Board and help with the negotiation of key transaction terms

This transaction underscores Arma Partners’ ability to deliver highly successful outcomes for companies transitioning to a SaaS model and reinforces the firm’s strong track record in the payroll and HCM software sector