An e-commerce firm is aiming to create 50 new jobs over the next year and treble turnover by 2017 following a management buyout.
The Visualsoft MBO, led by founding director Dean Benson, follows a record-breaking year for the company, which has launched nearly 1,000 online stores for retail clients across a wide range of sectors since its establishment in 1998.
Within the new structure, Benson, in the role of managing director, is joined on the board by business development director Tim Johnson, technical director Matt Burton and online marketing director David Duke.
Currently employing 155 staff at its Stockton headquarters and offices in Newcastle and London, Visualsoft expects to create another 50 jobs over the next 12 months.
The company, which is now looking to add to its existing ecommerce partnerships with the likes of Google, PayPal, Amazon, eBay and Sage, is also targeting a three-fold increase in turnover over the next three years.
Benson said: “I am excited about Visualsoft’s future. We have come a long way since our humble beginnings as an online training venture 16 years ago.
“We have grown in tandem with the e-commerce sector, capitalising on the surge in online retailing that has largely escaped the recession.
“I’m thrilled to be taking Visualsoft forward with a new management team and outstanding staff to drive the business forward and ensure we remain at the cutting edge of the e-commerce industry.”
Benson thanked those involved in the buyout, including Nik Tunley of business lawyers Endeavour Partnership, Barclays and chartered accountants Clive Owen & Co LLP.
Aaron Clark, director at Barclays Corporate, said: “Visualsoft is a key customer and local employer and I am delighted to have delivered a bespoke leveraged financing package to fund the management buyout, and provide a platform for Visualsoft to deliver growth and quality jobs for the future.
“I look forward to working in partnership with the management team on what is a very exciting strategic journey ahead.”
Angus Allan, corporate finance partner at Clive Owen & Co LLP, who personally brokered the transaction between the purchaser and the vendor, prepared the business plan and raised the necessary finance, added: “Visualsoft are a longstanding and valued client so we were well placed to deliver key strategic advice.
“Led by Dean, I am sure the team will continue to build upon the excellent base already established over many years of successful trading.”
Tunley said: “We are delighted to have supported Dean and the team at Visualsoft on this project.
“This deal represents a milestone for the company and is the beginning of an exciting period of growth during which we looking forward to working with Dean, Matt, Tim and David further.”