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Stone Group undergoes an MBO

Firm goes through second MBO in the space of 11 years as it changes investment backers

Stone Group has undergone a second MBO in the space of 11 years, with its CEO Simon Harbridge leading a team backed by Souter Investments.

As a result of the deal the backers of the last MBO, which happened in 2008, RJD Partners will have realised its investment, although some individuals have backed the new deal along with Souter.

Souter has made no secret that its plans to support Stone could well include some M&A activity in the future.

Simon Harbridge, CEO of Stone Group, said that the timing of the latest MBO was right given the desires of RJD to close out the investment.

“This represents an important and significant milestone for the Group. RJD has been a highly supportive partner for over ten years, but now needs to close out its second fund. I am delighted that David MacLellan, chairman and founder of RJD, has accepted the role of Non-executive Chairman of Stone and has invested personally alongside Souter,” he said.

He added that Souter shared the vision for Stone Group and would be a “strong and dynamic supporter” of the next stage of the firm’s growth.

“We continue to grow strongly, adding net new customers in each of our vertical markets, while continuing to develop infrastructure solutions and services alongside our traditional hardware offerings and growing the value of each customer,” said Harbridge.

John Berthinussen, investment director at Souter Investments, said that by backing Stone it was giving its support to an established business and management team.

“We look forward to working with Simon and his team as they continue to drive organic growth and expand the breadth of Stone Group’s technology, service and support offerings, with the opportunity for both to be accelerated by M&A,” he said.

As part of the deal Berthinussen has joined the board as a non-executive director.

Stone has been on an ambition to post £100 million for 2019, which would be annual growth of 25%, and has managed to secure a position on several of the big public sector frameworks, including the Jisc Framework,  RM3808 Public Sector Network Services 2 and RM6103 Education Technology Frameworks.

The Stone team

Simon Harbridge, CEO

Tim Westbrook, Sales and Marketing Director

Adrian Frost CFO

Peter Berks, Procurement Director

Chris Hykin, Technical Services Director

Lawrence Richards, Operations Director.

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