Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has advised the UK's leading mid-market private equity firm LDC on its significant minority investment in award winning IT Managed and Internet Service Provider Aspire Technology Solutions (Aspire).

Headquartered in Newcastle, Aspire is one of the fastest growing IT companies in the UK and delivers leading technology solutions across cloud connectivity, telephony, cyber security, professional services and technical support. LDC, Lloyds Banking Group’s private equity arm, will support Aspire's existing management team, led by CEO Chris Fraser, to broaden its services to clients and pursue its growth ambitions.

The WBD team representing LDC was led by Partner Robert Phillips, Legal Director James Cook and Associate David Ridley of the firm's Newcastle and Leeds corporate and private equity teams. The acquisition represents a series of investments the trio have acted for LDC on, including:

  • its significant minority investment in Connect Health – the UK’s largest independent provider of integrated community MSK (musculoskeletal) services (shortlisted for Deal of the Year above £10m in 2020) and subsequent bolt-on acquisitions; and
  • its investment in iamproperty, a business specialising in technology-led software, platforms and services that support property professionals.

Additional support was provided by Becky Brook, Katie Watson and Lewis Sanderson, as well as Banking team members John Connor and Jake Unsworth. A multi-specialist WBD team advised on the due diligence exercise.

Robert Phillips of WBD commented: 

"LDC are a long-standing client of our leading Corporate and Private Equity team, and we are particularly proud of having advised them on this acquisition, being one of their largest investments in the North East to date. We wish the business well in its growth plans and look forward to working with Aspire and LDC in the future."

Gareth Marshall, Head of North East at LDC, said:

“Aspire’s growth, especially over the past three years, is a true testament to the ambition of Chris and his team. Together, they have created a market-leading tech business that the local community here in the North East is incredibly proud of."

Aspire has an extensive customer base across the UK including SMEs, public sector and not-for-profit organisations as well as large enterprises and blue-chip organisations with a global presence. They provide services across multiple sectors, to a vastly diverse portfolio of organisations.

Ranking in the UK's top 20 law firms, WBD provides legal expertise in its key sectors from across seven offices in the UK and 19 offices in the US. The firm has a large corporate practice in the UK advising national and international clients on a broad range of corporate transactions, particularly M&A, private equity investments, IPOs and joint ventures, as well as growth and development capital fundraisings.