Capita seals deal for Technophobia

TECNOPHOBIA  l/r: Amelia and Pip Thorne and Duncan Randall at TechnoPhobia, Paternoster Row.       21 July 2008
TECNOPHOBIA l/r: Amelia and Pip Thorne and Duncan Randall at TechnoPhobia, Paternoster Row. 21 July 2008

Sheffield-based web technology business Technophobia has been acquired by UK outsourcing company Capita.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, sees founders Pip and Amelia Thorne leave the business, which will continue to be run by managing director Emma Marshall as a standalone business within the Capita group.

Emma Marshall said: “We are extremely excited by Capita’s acquisition.

“Becoming part of the Capita Group offers us fantastic new opportunities and greater resource to support our plans to grow the business whilst allowing us to retain our own unique character and creative approach to business solutions.

“Capita recognised in Technophobia not only a great business proposition but also the fantastic team of hard working, bright and talented individuals who make the company what it is.

“This acquisition is in no small way a testament to the team. I’m very confident and looking forward to the organisational and personal opportunities this offers us all.

“I feel very proud of what we have achieved and excited about the team’s future.”

Pip Thorne described the deal as “absolutely right” for the firm.

“It’s the right thing to do at the right time, with the right people and the right company,” said Mr Thorne.

“We have always been looking at progressing the business, growing the business and working with bigger partners. The fit is perfect.”

Technophobia has partnered with Capita on contracts in the past.

The firm says the deal will add an extra level and skills to Capita’s offering, while creating opportunities for Technophobia with Capita’s clients.

David Forrest (corporate finance partner) and Kevin Davies (assistant director) from multi-award winning firm BHP Corporate Finance were lead advisors to the exiting founder shareholders.

The deal reflects the culmination of a year’s planning and review, following a decision at the beginning of 2010 by the shareholders, to take a step back from the day-to-day management of the business. The exercise involved a full review of strategic options carried out by BHP Corporate Finance working closely with the founding shareholders and the senior management team. This review provided a framework for decision-making through a period of transition and ultimately resulted in the sale.

Neil Thompson and Adam Hulme from the Sheffield office of law firm Hill Dickinson provided legal advice to the vendors.

l Technophobia was established by Pip and Amelia Thorne in 1995 and has grown into a company employing 70 people in Sheffield.

The company has developed web presences and technologies for companies such as The Co-operative Bank, Green Flag, South Yorkshire Police, the Gondola Group – the market leading restaurant group whose brands include PizzaExpress, Zizzi and ASK – Buying Solutions, and the Technology Strategy Board.