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BCMS advises SaaS specialist, DPS Software, on its sale to The Access Group

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BCMS has advised the shareholders of DPS Software (DPS), first mover in the development of web-based SaaS solutions for the UK legal sector, on its sale to The Access Group (Access), a leading provider of broader software solutions to UK mid-market businesses.

Founded in 1988 by Osman Ismail, DPS is a market leader in SaaS-based Practice Management software for law firms, with a growing presence serving legal departments within both public and private sector organisations, across the UK. It was one of the first Legaltech players in the UK to move away from ‘on-premise’ software licensing, in favour of a cloud-hosted, subscription-based, SaaS model. Recurring revenues now contribute more than 80% of total turnover, and near perfect retention rates are a testament to the quality of service provided. With its next generation, web-based “Spitfire” platform, it has once again positioned itself at the forefront of innovation in its target market – addressing the increasing demand for solutions which can be accessed remotely, across a range of devices – a key competitive advantage in a post-Covid-19 world. Prior to acquisition, DPS was the largest privately owned provider of SaaS-based solutions to the UK Legal sector.

Established in 1991, Access serves more than 35,000 customers across commercial and not-for-profit sectors and employs more than 2,600 staff. The addition of DPS follows shortly after the group’s acquisition of Eclipse Software, and will deliver a suite of solutions that cover a vast array of legal processes. Combined with their existing market presence, this transaction will position Access as one of the top 3 UK-based providers of software to the UK legal sector.

Doug Sawers, Managing Director for the Access Legal Division, commented: "Access has a strong heritage in serving legal firms primarily with back offices systems like HR and Compliance. With the recent acquisition of Eclipse Software and the addition today of DPS, we are positioned as one of the largest providers of software solutions in the UK Legal sector, serving more than 3,500 organisations in the UK and a growing number globally. With the addition of the DPS solutions on the Access Workspace platform we can now deliver Case & Practice Management to more than 99% of the UK Legal market."

Osman Ismail, Chairman and Founder, DPS commented: "We are excited about the future that DPS will have in the Access Legal Division. Seeing the future potential that Access could bring for our people, solutions and customers, we know we have made the right decision. Combining with Access will enable us to offer our customers a broader suite of best-of-breed solutions delivered on the Access Workspace platform, allowing them to focus on delivering the best service possible."

Scott Ridley, Managing Director, DPS added: "Osman and I will be staying with the business, and enhancing the depth of legal expertise in Access. Our people and their experience in the sector is clearly valued and will grow under the Access framework. We’ve now got the agility of a smaller company, combined with the investment, scalability and structure of a larger group."

Following a very competitive sale process, Access were ultimately selected as the preferred purchaser for DPS. Their ambition to build a market-leading proposition in legal services, with Spitfire at its core, really helped to set them apart.

BCMS advised the shareholders of DPS throughout the process, which marks the M&A advisor's third successful deal completion in the wider software sector since April 2019, further consolidating their deep expertise advising on the sale of software, technology and data services businesses.

Jeremy Bate, Senior Director at BCMS, commented: "Securing the best possible outcomes for our clients is at the heart of the BCMS ethos, and it has been an absolute pleasure advising Osman and Scott on the sale of DPS. Despite challenging macroeconomic conditions as a result of Covid-19, this transaction demonstrates that successful outcomes can still be secured for high quality businesses which have proven resilient. It goes without saying we wish the teams at DPS and Access every success for the future."

Osman Ismail, Chairman and Founder, DPS added: "Recognising that it’s time for others to come in to help take your business to another level is a very difficult decision. We chose BCMS to guide us on that journey. At the time, we didn't realise how good a choice that was. The BCMS team were supremely professional throughout, and very hands-on – they were always clear about the best way forward, and took as much of the weight as they could off of us so that we could continue to drive the growth of the business. Special thanks to Jeremy Bate and Will Thompson, who also had to guide us through unprecedented times as a result of Covid 19. We simply couldn't have achieved what we did on the sale of DPS without the expertise provided by this very professional team."

The BCMS team was led by Jeremy Bate, and included William Thompson, Simon Glover, Rob Goulding and Maylin Cui. Legal advice was provided by Freeths, led by Leon Arnold and supported by Ben Filmer.

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Posted Jul 2020
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