Chester-headquartered WorkNest accelerates growth with three acquisitions
Chester: 2 March 2021 – Ellis Whittam is pleased to announce the growth of the business through three acquisitions by parent company Marlowe plc.
In deals worth a combined £5.15m, employment law firm and employee relations (ER) technology business ESPHR, HR software provider Youmanage, and third sector specialist HR Services Partnership (HRSP), will join Ellis Whittam and Law At Work (LAW) to strengthen the Group’s Employment Law and HR arm. The newly acquired businesses will support Ellis Whittam’s growth trajectory and expand its service proposition.
Gavin Snell, CEO at Ellis Whittam, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome these new businesses into the Ellis Whittam family. Since becoming part of Marlowe, our ambition has been to acquire further businesses that complement our own, in order to strengthen the services we provide to our clients. These acquisitions reinforce our current offering with more high-quality legal expertise, market-leading software and greater capability in our HR consultancy offering.
“I’m incredibly excited about our future, the opportunities that this will bring for our brilliant team, and the enhanced level of support this will offer our SME and mid-market clients.”
Gavin Snell, CEO at Ellis Whittam
ESPHR is a new model employment law firm and ER technology business comprised of a 14-strong team, including highly qualified employment lawyers. Established in 2003, the organisation now supports some 170 retained clients – including Greene King plc, Randstad and Entain plc.
The acquisition of ESPHR will build on the existing strength of Ellis Whittam and LAW in the legal space, combining technology and SRA-regulated employment law expertise to deliver a truly competitive proposition against traditional law firms.
The Woking-based employment law compliance specialist was acquired for a total consideration of £3.2m, comprising a £2.5m upfront consideration and a deferred element of £0.7m.
Speaking on the sale, Peter Byrne, founder and CEO of ESPHR, said:
“We are truly excited about the opportunities that this acquisition brings to the ESPHR team and our customers, enabling us to benefit from the wider ecosystem of Marlowe businesses operating in other complementary areas such as occupational health, HR Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), e-Learning and health and safety services. Similarly, we are looking forward to working with the Ellis Whittam and Law At Work businesses to develop and build on our leading position in the mid-market as a new-model employment law firm and employee relations (ER) technology business.”
Reinforcing Ellis Whittam’s software offering, Youmanage helps employers improve the quality and effectiveness of their HR management processes through a new breed of subscription-based HR technology.
Based in Dundee, the company supports approximately 200 clients, having developed a functionally-rich platform that addresses the needs of both smaller and larger organisations.
Youmanage was acquired for a total consideration of £1.25m, comprising a £0.75m upfront consideration and a deferred element of £0.5m.
Commenting on the acquisition of the business, Nick Pye, CEO at Youmanage, said:
“Technology is set to play an increasingly important role in the delivery of HR and advisory services to business owners, HR professionals and people managers alike. The entire Youmanage team look forward to working with Ellis Whittam and the Marlowe group of companies to provide technological advances in the HR tech space.”
Building on EW’s strong presence in the third sector, HRSP specialises in delivering bespoke HR support to charities, town and parish councils, and not-for-profit organisations.
Its team of 21 HR consultants provides project-based and retained support to around 200 clients each year, offering trusted assistance with administrative, operational and strategic HR requirements.
Located in Horsham, the company has experienced strong growth in the last year, with an annual turnover of £1 million. It was acquired for a total consideration of £0.7m.
Maria Aguilar, Director at HRSP, said:
“It is important for charity and not for profit clients to have access to bespoke, affordable and specialist HR and employment law support. Joining the Marlowe group means that our clients will continue receiving high quality HR support and will now also be able to access a wide range of other related services.”
With backing from Marlowe, the Group’s five-strong Employment Law arm, led by the Ellis Whittam brand, now offers a perfect blend of services designed to help employers manage their employees and remain compliant with employment law.
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