Autologic in £46m management buyout /

Autologic Diagnostic Holdings Limited, the fast-growing provider of dealer-level diagnostic solutions for leading car brands to independent workshops, today announces a £46m management buyout funded by Livingbridge.

The investment by Livingbridge will allow some of Autologic’s current shareholder base to realise their holdings while also supporting the continued rapid growth of the business. The management team led by Executive Chairman Kevin Finn, Managing Director Peter Toland and Technical Director Ian Jones, is rolling over a significant portion of value into Newco alongside Livingbridge. Foresight is realising part of its investment but also rolling over value into Newco, while Octopus Investments will exit in full.

Autologic was founded in 1999 and operates from its headquarters in Wheatley, Oxfordshire with offices in New York and Hong Kong. The company’s diagnostic equipment allows independent workshops to service leading car brands. As vehicles have become increasingly sophisticated and technically complex, mechanics need to be able to communicate with on-board computers to diagnose and fix faults, making diagnostic equipment essential to the repair and servicing of modern day vehicles.

Autologic is distinguished in the market by the technical quality of its products and the unrivalled level of support it offers to its customers. The company’s software is developed in-house by its team of software engineers and provides independent garages with a depth of diagnostic tool equivalent to the mainstream dealers’ offering. Its support offering gives customers access to technical expertise

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from brand specific master technicians and software experts. The Autologic softwareis continually developed and updated, and customers are provided with real-time support and updates.

Since the investment by Foresight and Octopus Investments in 2009, Autologic’s turnover has grown significantly from £6.2m in 2009 to £14.5m in 2011.

Autologic’s products are sold throughout the world, with well established positions in the UK and US markets. After a period of strong international expansion, Autologic acquired its US master distributor in June 2010. The new investment by Livingbridge will support the business in its continued overseas expansion, building on the international distributor network where there is significant potential for further growth.

The business will also continue to develop its brands, products and translation options, with some of the brand packages now available in French, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Chinese.

Andy Coghlan of WK Corporate Finance LLP advised the shareholders of Autologic and introduced the transaction to Livingbridge.

Catalyst Corporate Finance led by Mark Humphries, supported by Paul Vanstone and James Guglia, advised Livingbridge and Newco on the transaction.

Debt facilities were provided by HSBC Leveraged Finance.

Peter Toland, Managing Director, Autologic, comments:
“We see in Living Bridge a strong, knowledgeable partner who will work with the management team to continue to drive the growth of the business while retaining focus on developing market leading products and providing unrivalled customer support. The past three years have been tremendously successful for Autologic as the business has internationalised. The investment by Living Bridge, together with the continued investment of Foresight and the management team will support the business in its next stage of rapid growth.”

Daniel Smith, Director, Livingbridge, comments:
“Autologic is a superb UK technology success story. The Company already delivers a world class product and service to 50 countries around the globe. We are delighted to have the opportunity to invest in and work with the Autologic team to propel the business even further and faster in the years to come.”

Mark Humphries, Catalyst Corporate Finance, comments:
“Management were keen to complete the deal within a very short timeframe to ensure they focused on Autologic’s growth opportunities and not get diverted by a deal process. To that end, following our appointment as the buyer’s advisor, we were able to balance the commercial aspirations of all stakeholders with the need to complete the deal in the minimal time possible.”

Andy Oates, HSBC Leveraged Finance, comments:
“We are extremely pleased to be able to continue to support this existing customer through the next stage of its development as the business looks to expand its global presence.”

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