Castle has advised the shareholders of Sevenoaks based Credence Background Screening (“Credence”) on the sale of the company to fast-growing Canadian tech group, Certn. This is Certn’s first acquisition in Europe and a milestone in its global expansion plans.
Hedley Clark acquired Credence over 10 years ago, since then it has grown to become one of the leading providers of background checks to businesses across the UK and wider EMEA region, to small and large enterprises alike. Now comprising a team of more than 100 personnel and with specialist teams in the UK and Egypt (to support clients across the Middle East), Credence has grown considerably in recent years – a fact that was recognised by Certn in its approach and valuation.
Hedley is taking the opportunity to step back from the business, whilst the wider management team remain in place to support the longer-term growth plans of the enlarged group.
Hedley commented: “I had been looking for a company to take over Credence, but one which shared the same values as us and could add value to Credence, in particular with regards to technology improvements. Certn provides both of these. I had already engaged Castle Corporate Finance ahead of time to assist me with the process when I found the right partner. Having someone with experience in business disposals was a real benefit to me, guiding me through the process, taking on some of the burden and supporting me through to completion.”
Gregoire Chevallier, Certn’s VP of Corporate Development who spearheaded the acquisition, added: “We are very excited to be integrated with the Credence team to expand our services into EMEA markets. This partnership will not only accelerate our international expansion but will also strengthen our dedication to the quality and excellent service we provide to our clients. The M&A process with teams on both sides was very efficient and professional. We look forward to providing a faster, frictionless and automated background check process for our clients alongside Credence.”
Victoria Ansell, director at Castle Corporate Finance, led the transaction throughout. She added: “It was a delight to work with Hedley, not only to realise an exit for him, but also to provide continuity for the business and its team, protecting the legacy and culture that is synonymous with Credence. It was clear from the start of the process that Certn shares these values and recognised that Credence – as an established business with such a strong reputation – will be a fantastic foundation for its continued growth. I wish Hedley and all involved in Credence and Certn the very best for the future.”
Castle Corporate Finance acted as lead adviser on the transaction, with legal advice provided by Cripps Pemberton Greenish and tax support from Creaseys. Certn was advised by Taylor Wessing (London).