Isis gets £12m in Occam sale

ISIS Equity Partners, the small-cap buyout house, is eyeing new investment opportunities after selling marketing software maker Occam to services company St Ives for £12m.

Isis said it made between 1.5 and two times its investment of £4.1m on the sale of Occam, which it bought into through a management buyout in 2004. The company, which is based in Bristol, works for clients including Eurostar, Royal Bank of Scotland and the Ministry of Defence.

Occam generated underlying cashflow of £1m in the year to May 2009 on a pre-tax loss of £1.5m and revenues of £8.2m, according to accounts. St Ives said it expected cashflow to double to £2m in the year to May 2010.

The management team of James Bagan, Scott Logie and Benjamin McGinn will be locked in for two years with shares worth £155,000.

The deal marks Isis’ fifth exit from a portfolio company in nine months, following the sales of Scriptswitch, Active Assistance, Enigma Travel and Traveljigsaw. The transactions raised £101m in total.

Wol Kolade, managing partner at Isis, said: “The thing about the five exits that’s really striking is they’re all to trade buyers, which is saying something about where the UK economy is. Corporates are starting to place their bets by buying things.”

Kolade said the private equity group was sitting on cash after the disposals and saw opportunities to put it to work in small UK growth companies. “The [ideas] pipeline is full,” he said.