ICON advises on £3m investment to put cloud pioneer on path for more growth

September 24, 2021

Cloud services company Cloud Direct is poised for further expansion after Bristol-based tech-focused investment bank ICON Corporate Finance helped it secure a £3m strategic investment.

The deal gives Oslo Stock Exchange-listed Crayon Group an unspecified minority stake in Bath-headquartered Cloud Direct, one of the UK’s leading Microsoft partners which has grown exponentially over recent years.

Crayon employs more than 2,000 people in 35 countries, while Cloud Direct, which was founded in 2003 by serial tech entrepreneur Brett Raynes, has 165 employees and a turnover of £20m, 82% of which is recurring revenue.

Cloud Direct, which also has offices in London and Cape Town and is a leading UK-based Microsoft Azure Expert MSP, said its world-class cloud managed services, combined with Crayon’s expertise in licensing and cost optimisation, would enhance the offering and capacity that both partners provided to their customers.

The investment supports Cloud Direct’s ambitious growth and establishes a commercial partnership with Crayon, increasing the Norwegian group’s ability to leverage deep expertise in Microsoft technologies, meaning more customers will be able to take advantage of the benefits of the cloud.

The partnership also brings broader licensing services to Cloud Direct’s customers and takes its specialist Microsoft cloud capabilities to Crayon’s customers.

Under the deal, on which ICON Corporate Finance acted as exclusive financial adviser to Cloud Direct, Crayon also has an option to further invest in a majority ownership of Cloud Direct at a later date.

Florian Depner, the ICON director who led the deal, said Cloud Direct was at the forefront of digital transformation in the UK and was also one of the first fully certified Microsoft Azure Expert MSPs globally.

“It was no surprise that the business received considerable attention and, as a result, found a strong partner with Crayon,” he added.

“This is a huge endorsement from a global technology player. It has been a pleasure to work with the team, and we look forward to their continued success.”

The deal adds to ICON’s track record of more than 250 successfully closed transactions. It also further highlights ICON’s global track record in cloud technologies and digital transformation as well as illustrating its expertise in international mergers and acquisitions.

Cross-border deals have accounted for five out of ICON’s last six deals, including the sale of 360 Science to US-based Syniti, Moody’s strategic investment in Fathom, Quantex’s sale to US Dover owned PSG, JoinedUp’s sale to US Beeline, and Crayon’s investment in Cloud Direct. 

From its HQ in Bristol and offices in London and San Francisco, ICON’s multi-lingual teams have brought clients access to deals across Europe, Africa, the US and Asia. The firm works with global tech companies and as a fundraising partner with top private equity, venture capital and CVCs, ICON works with some of the world’s most successful companies.,

Cloud Direct CEO Brett Raynes, pictured, said: “It was a pleasure to work with Florian and the ICON team. They managed the process with extreme professionalism and created significant international interest for our business. We are delighted with the end result and to welcome Crayon as our new partner.

“To have two of Microsoft’s top partners joining forces is great news for customers looking to adopt or optimise their Microsoft Cloud environment.

“Our expertise in consultancy and managed services for M365 and Azure has seen us go from strength to strength.

“We are very proud to now have Crayon as part of our continued growth and to further enhance the offering that we can provide to our customers.”

Crayon CEO Melissa Mulholland added: “We are excited about this agreement as it combines the best of both Crayon and Cloud Direct.

“We both have the global elite status of being a Microsoft Azure Expert MSP and Crayon’s customer-centric approach to cost optimization complements Cloud Direct’s managed services capabilities.”



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