Kick strikes again with third acquisition this year in Scottish technology sector

Expanding services provider Kick ICT has acquired two further Scottish-based businesses in a move that will add £3 million to existing revenues.

The company has taken over the Turnkey Business Software (TBS) and Turnkey Infrastructure Solutions (TIS) divisions of East Kilbride’s Turnkey Group, which has decided to focus its efforts on building an international market for its insolvency practitioner software. The acquisition will add 15 people to Kick’s existing headcount of 125, while taking annual revenues to more than £18m.

Established as a vehicle to drive consolidation in the IT market for small and medium-sized businesses, Kick is headed by chief executive and co-founder Tom O’Hara. The deals are the company’s sixth and seventh acquisitions since it was set up in 2015, having earlier this year completed the takeover of Glasgow-based Clyde Solutions.

Between them, TBS and TIS have 170 customers across the UK in a variety of sectors such as the timber, sawmill, harvesting, payroll, food, hotel and hospitality industries. Founded in 1980 by chairman Barry Wood, his son Tony now serves as the group’s managing director.

READ MORE: Kick snaps up a further Scottish tech firm as expansion rolls on

“TBS and TIS have a long-standing and outstanding reputation in the market and I’d like to thank Tony and Barry for affording us the opportunity to look after their customers and their people ongoing,” Mr O’Hara said.

“It’s clear Tony and Barry had a myriad of options available to them and it’s a huge compliment for them to have endorsed our vision, strategy, culture and values. I wish them every success as they continue to build the Turnkey Group and IPS as a global software brand and I very much look forward to collaborating with them in the future.”

Tony Wood said it had been “a pleasure” to have TBS and TIS as part of the group, but after being approached by Kick earlier this year, it was decided that a sale would be the best way to allow Turnkey to “focus 100 per cent on our IPS insolvency platform”. He added that the two companies have similar cultures and values that will allow the former Turnkey divisions to further develop and grow.

“We would like to thank all of our customers at TBS and TIS for all of their support over the years, and the staff for all of their hard work,” he said. “We look forward to working with Kick to ensure that the transition is smooth and a great success.”

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In its latest financial year to the end of September, Kick posted a 10% increase in turnover to £14.6m along with a 12% rise in pre-tax profits to £1.7m. The company is owned by Mr O’Hara and his co-founders – sales director Alan Turnbull and strategic initiatives director David Chazan – along with two further minority investors.

A spokesman said Kick is now in initial discussions on a further acquisition, and also expects to grow its headcount through the launch of its “Kick Academy” for recruiting school leavers and graduates.

Mr O’Hara added: “Kick has made excellent progress this year adding Clyde, TBS and TIS to the group over the last five months. Our cash reserves and great support from HSBC provides an excellent platform for growth and ensures we are well-placed to continue growing and building market share both in Scotland and more widely across the UK.”

Prior to setting up Kick, Mr O’Hara spent 10 years building up the Scottish arm of Technology Services Group (TSG), the software company established by Sage co-founder Graham Wylie, into a £10m turnover operation.

Kick’s legal advisor on the deal was MBM, while Robb Ferguson advised on accounting and tax issues. Turnkey Group was advised by Macdonald Henderson, Armstrongs Accounting Services and Leslie Corporate Finance.

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992