The new owners of Valldata Services Limited have acquired Rapidata Services, just over two weeks after they supported senior Valldata staff in a management buyout.
In a joint statement released today, Valldata and Rapidata confirmed that the same private investors who completed the management buyout of Valldata Services Limited, had agreed to complete the acquisition of Rapidata “coincidentally”. The acquisition was completed yesterday.
The two companies will both be owned by a newly-formed holding company, VRD group, but will retain their own brands.
The move spells the end of Fundraising Initiatives Group, which last year put most of its companies into administration. Rapidata was the last fundraising company owned by the group, which held a 74 per cent share.
Scott Gray, managing director of Rapidata, told Civil Society News that the investors, Max Ashton and Andrew Clarfield, have “a good track record of investment over many years” and were preferable buyers, compared to a private equity house, as they “will support existing management”.
“We’ve been working on selling ever since the events of Fundraising Initiatives Group, who owned 74 per cent of Rapidata," he said. "So there’s been that need for Fundraising Initiatives Holdings Limited to release their equity from their shareholding. That’s been the case for quite some months now.
“It just so happened that the same investors who coincidentally were looking Valldata, were aware of Rapidata as well. Two separate transactions, but obviously they saw the benefit of joining the forces of both.”
Gray said that the sale of Rapidata effectively spelled the end of the Fundraising Initiatives Group and would sever the direct debit processing organisation’s ties to Cathy Sullivan and Ken Bauso.
“There was a 100 per cent sale. So the 74 per cent has been sold,” said Gray. “The minority shareholders – who accounted for around 6.5 per cent – have also sold. So there’s going to be absolutely no one left from the old FIL Group. It’s going to be a completely new board. Companies House will start to be updated today. There are going to be no further ties to Cathy or Ken, at all.”
Gray confirmed that Valldata and Rapidata would be retaining separate offices and would continue to operate as separate brands and services. He also said he did not expect any of Rapidata’s 21 current staff members to be made redundant.
“What Valldata offer and what we offer are very different. We’re very much regular giving and online fundraising – we’re there very much as the go to people for ‘thanking and banking’. The response side.
“So pooling our resources together means that we’d be able to offer our existing clients, let alone future clients, a very strong proposition.”
Gray said he hoped the partnership would provide the sector with “strength and stability” after what has been an “awful time for charities and agencies” over the last 18-months. He said that he wouldn’t be surprised if more and more agencies begin to form similar partnerships.
Rapidata Services's latest set of accounts for the year ending 31 December 2015, published on 10 May 2016, show that the organisation had a turnover of £2.1m and gross profits of £1.8m, over £300,000 higher than the previous year.