YORKSHIRE bosses are renowned for their willingness to roll up their sleeves when faced with challenges that would scare off many rivals.
Humility and a strong work ethic can still take you a long way. Scott Brenchley believes these qualities will help him create a £500m business with family values.
Former footballer Mr Brenchley is CEO of the Tactus Group, which has just completed the acquisition of the Bradford-based PC gaming specialist CCL Computers; a deal that transformed Tactus into a £125m business. It’s unlikely to be the group’s only deal this year.
“We have got a number of potential acquisitions in the pipeline, including two which we hope to complete in the second quarter,” he said.
The latest acquisition sees Tactus increase its headcount to 110 people and adds an e-commerce capability to its offering.
Tactus, which provides multi-branded IT hardware to global retailers and the public sector, has developed relationships with technology businesses such as Microsoft and Intel.
These relationships are certainly paying off. A big deal with a large US retailer came about through an introduction from Microsoft. The group’s product portfolio includes IT hardware, smart home technology and tech wearable apparel, which it sells through partnerships with major names in ecommerce and high street retailers worldwide.
The CCL deal has been funded by an £11.25m private equity investment, with Arete Capital Partners investing £10m, in addition to the group’s existing facilities.
CCL specialises in building and reselling computer components to the fast-growing gaming sector, and the deal provides Tactus with the first opportunity to offer its products directly to the consumer.
Mr Brenchley said: “CCL has a centre for excellence for system building in the gaming space. We want to grow on the credibility that they have.
“They are a very humble business which has grown significantly over the last three or four years. We saw there was a real synergy there.”
The Warrington-headquartered Tactus Group is built around what it describes as a “family ethos”, which is personified by its affable CEO.
“I originally wanted to be a footballer and was with Liverpool for five years,” said Mr Brenchley. “I was born in Hull and still have family there so I know all about the traits of Yorkshire people. They just get on with it and work hard.”
The group’s growth could also lead to the creation of jobs in Yorkshire.
“When people talk about the Northern Powerhouse people often assume you are pointing towards the Manchester region,” said Mr Brenchley.
“There are a lot of businesses in and around Yorkshire that are really quite special. They’ve got that work ethic and ‘can do’ attitude.
“Companies like CCL are sleeping giants. We are looking at hiring in Yorkshire as we add to the team. We have got plans to grow the number of people we have at CCL.”
He’s also keen to acknowledge the vital role played by Arete, the group’s private equity backers.
“Arete don’t just give you money they can help with strategy as well,” he said.
“We want to grow, but it’s important we do this carefully and make sure the people are on the ride with us. One of the most important things is to build the group’s culture.
“I hope we will always have that family culture in Tactus however big we get.
“Our saying is, ‘Why not?’ We are also down to earth and believe in sticking up for each other.
“Building the business is all about hiring the right people. You must always hire somebody who is better than you.
“I’ve always been enthusiastic about technology and Tactus prides itself on saying ‘yes’ more than it says ‘no’.
“As we get bigger we aim to remain as agile as we can,” said Mr Brenchley. “We have got a specialist merger and acquisitions director (Gav Jones) who is very strategic. Our relationship with Microsoft is also a big influence on us.
“Our aim is to get to a £250m turnover business as quickly as possible, which we believe will take two to three years, through acquisition and organic growth.
“In five years’ time, my ambition is to become a £500m business. A possible flotation is not something we have talked about at board level, but who knows what the future will hold?
“We want to establish ourselves in the gaming space and the commercial sector.”
Mr Brenchley, who founded Tactus in 2014, never had a masterplan to become a CEO. He just followed his passion, which brought him into contact with some of the biggest retailers in Europe.
He warns that anyone who wants to emulate his success must be prepared for the all-consuming nature of corporate life.
He added: “One of the things nobody told me is that you do have to make sacrifices in order to get to where you want to be. You have to surround yourself with great people who will tell you the truth.”
This probably explains why he has a natural affinity with Bradford.
“Yorkshire is a real gem full of brilliant businesses,” he said. “It’s a place where people work hard and talk straight.”
Scott Brenchley founded Tactus Group in 2014. He has worked in the IT industry for 23 years and has successfully managed, funded and created a number of new businesses in the technology sector.
He has transformed the group into a global leader in sourcing and branding consumer technology products.
Last month, West Yorkshire-based PC gaming specialists CCL Computers was acquired by Tactus Group.
Mr Brenchley said: “A core part of our acquisition strategy over the next 12 months is to identify and bring together fantastic businesses that complement one another and can really drive our growth.
“CCL is a perfect example of this.”
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