Ascent, a leading European digital services business, has entered into an agreement with HSBC UK to refinance its existing credit. This will provide liquidity for operations and strengthen Ascent’s overall M&A capabilities, with a pipeline of strategic acquisitions planned for within the next year.
Led by CEO Stewart Smythe, the main aims of Ascent’s buy and build strategy are to locate a new regional source for technical talent; enter another European market and expand the company’s data engineering and business intelligence (BI) capabilities. Employing 420 staff across the UK, Malta, Bulgaria and 14 other countries worldwide, Ascent’s ambitious M&A plan includes the recent hire of experienced M&A manager, Alexandra Kirezoglou, to drive skills and expertise to serve its customer locations.
Over the next 12 months, Ascent is planning a number of acquisitions, one of which is expected to close imminently. The integration of data analytics company Mango Solutions, acquired in late 2020, is also now complete, embedding 40 data scientists into Ascent’s technical teams and leveraging tools such as Python and R for data analysis to build complex models and support data-led decision-making.
Ascent’s continual M&A growth will enable the company to seize new market opportunities which are driven by a rapidly increasing global demand for digital services. The majority of its revenues come from UK customers, but the company also serves customers in Europe and North America. Ascent has more than 150 customers across a broad range of verticals, including BrewDog, Centrica (Hive), Bosch, BT, BDO and – through its acquisition of Mango Solutions in 2020 – GSK, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Office of National Statistics and Hiscox.
Stewart Smythe, CEO at Ascent said: “Our engagement with HSBC UK will increase the financial flexibility required for Ascent’s future growth. HSBC has an unrivalled understanding of our need to grow integrated software and data capabilities that deliver effective Digital Transformation for our customers. Our European operations have performed at record levels over the past 18 months. We leverage M&A for scale and have a £75 million war chest to execute on our ambitions. Building our digital expertise through acquiring best-of-breed technology businesses and talent will enable Ascent to become a leading digital services company in the UK and Europe. Our refinance with HSBC will play an important part in supporting that growth by allowing us to invest in the right regions and connect talent to UK customers.”Click below to share this article