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April 11, 2017updated 18 May 2017 11:12am

1pm acquires Bell Finance for up to £3.4m

By Saad Ahmed

UK SME funder 1pm has acquired Bell Finance for up to £3.4m (€4m) in cash and shares, continuing its expansion.

Bell Finance was founded in 2000, and provides funding for hard assets such as plant, machinery, and vehicles for the construction sector.

The consideration for the acquisition comprises £2.3m in cash, including £300,000 to be placed in escrow for six months until certain targets are reached.

Over three years, a further £300,000 of deferred cash will be paid by 1pm. The final components are an earn-out of £800,000, to be made up of £600,000 of 1pm shares at 66.7 pence a share, and £200,000 cash, subject to achieving trading forecasts in the three years following completion of the deal.

The acquisition of Bell Finance follows a number of similar deals by 1pm over recent years, including the acquisition of Intelligent Financing in March this year. 1pm plans to merge the operations of Bell Finance with those of Bradgate Business Finance, which 1pm acquired in March 2016. 1pm’s secure loan note programme was launched in March this year, and was made available to help fund acquisitions.

Richard Batchelor and Mark Durman, directors and principle shareholders of Bell Finance, will remain in the new entity, which will operate under the Bradgate name.

Ian Smith, chief executive officer of 1pm, said: “This latest transaction demonstrates our ongoing commitment to delivering on our strategic objectives of building scale and maintaining our funding and broking capabilities.

“The acquisition of Bell and its merger into Bradgate creates a substantial business for the funding of hard assets required by many SME sectors and establishes a platform for further growth.”

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