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Bridgepoint in the News

21 May 2012

Bridgepoint Development Capital acquires international voice productivity software group BigHand in £49 million buyout

BigHand, the award winning voice productivity software developer, has been acquired by Bridgepoint Development Capital (‘BDC’) together with management in a transaction totalling £49 million.

Founded in 1996, the company is the largest provider of voice productivity software to the legal, healthcare and professional services market in the UK and has a growing international client base. It currently supports over 150,000 professionals globally, across 1,450 organisations and has offices in London, Chicago, Sydney and Toronto.

Voice productivity software is designed to help business professionals become more efficient. It is currently primarily related to managing the efficient workflow of digital dictation in industries where the time of professionals is both limited and expensive and needs to be focussed on value adding activities (for example, lawyers, doctors, accountants, surveyors, IFAs).

BigHand provides the workflow software, including integrated speech recognition technology, that makes the creation, distribution and processing of voice files more efficient and secure. Its software allows a user to dictate from any device (including the latest smartphone devices) and route that voice file to the required recipient for transcription and formatting. The company predominantly sells its software on an initial license basis followed by an annual maintenance contract but also has a growing Software as a Service ("SaaS") offering for smaller customers.

Alan Payne, partner at Bridgepoint Development Capital, says that penetration of voice productivity solutions, although strong in some markets, has still further to go in many others and is growing especially on the back of demand for its use from mobile devices and recent advances in voice-to-text conversion technology.

"Voice productivity software can yield very significant efficiency gains and cost savings to its users. BigHand is highly rated for its product capability and quality of service and is now recognised as a market leader, especially by the legal community."

The company is the branded market leader in the supply of voice productivity solutions to the UK legal market and is the No 1 supplier in the US, Dutch and Australian law firms market. In healthcare, it is the number one accredited supplier to the UK's NHS.

BigHand CEO Jon Ardron added: "We consider Bridgepoint's support to be very good news for our clients and our staff as we invest for the future. We have exciting plans for new products and services, and there are a range of untapped growth opportunities for our business in both existing and newer markets. With the support of our new shareholder we expect to grow our market share, build our customer base in target markets as well as extend our capabilities through targeted acquisitions."

Ken Hills Director, LDC added: "This is a great next step for a company which still has the ambition to develop further. The movement into SaaS markets is particularly encouraging and bodes well for the future."

BDC will acquire the company from LDC who will roll-over a portion of their proceeds to take a minority stake in the business along with a significant investment from management.

Debt for the transaction was provided by the incumbent provider HSBC. Advisers involved in the transaction are: for Bridgepoint Development Capital - E&Y (M&A and debt advisory), First Capital (Valuation and exit), Travers Smith (legal), AMR (commercial due diligence); for LDC - Marks Baughan & Co (Corporate Finance); for management - CMS Cameron McKenna (legal), KPMG (financial and tax).

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