Liberata investment proves landmark move for Endless

TURNAROUND investor Endless has completed its biggest investment to date, providing over £20m of new funding to support the growth of an outsourcing firm.

The Leeds-based firm bought Liberata, which supplies business processing outsourcing services to the public sector through its 20 business centres in the UK, for an undisclosed sum.

The London-based group employs over 2,000 people, including 174 staff at its data processing centre in Sheffield, improving and streamlining complex operational processes to drive cost savings and transform service management.

Liberata has a turnover in excess of 100m, underpinned by contracts with the Ministry of Justice and local authorities.

Endless is backing Liberata's management team, chief executive Dermot Joyce and chief financial officer Martin Trainer. The pair joined the company in the last 16 months to restructure and build the business, focusing on current clients and on new growth opportunities in the public sector.

Chris Clegg, of Endless, said: "This investment marks our first move into public sector-related businesses. There is a large potential for growth in business process outsourcing given that the Government is looking at ways of cutting costs."

But he insisted Liberata was looking to save rather than cut jobs. "Often outsourcing is associated with significant job losses but unlike a lot of other outsourcing models, Liberata doesn't drive efficiencies through significant headcount reductions. It's got a good track record of taking on people in the public sector and increasing productivity."

Garry Wilson, managing partner of Endless, said: "This is a landmark deal for Endless, representing both our biggest investment to date and our first deal in London. We are delighted to back such a strong management team with capability, track record and ambition to capitalise on the continued growth trend in public sector for professional managed services."

Mr Joyce added: "For all our clients, employees and partners this transaction and new investment from Endless means we are better positioned to pursue our ambitious future. I thank the company's board of directors for their exceptional support and commitment to the company over the last several years."

Liberata was founded in 1975 by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, called CIPFA Services. In 1989 it was renamed CSL. When the company was acquired by Deloitte & Touche in 1993, the company was subsequently renamed Liberata.

The Endless team included Mr Clegg, James Woolley, Simon Mason, Kerry Swain and Ian Plumb. Endless was advised by Robin Johnson of Eversheds and Gordon Singer of PwC. Ernst & Young advised the company on the disposal process.

Endless has offices in Leeds, London, Manchester and Birmingham.