New backers power next growth phase for Miles 33

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UK headquartered newspaper systems developer Miles 33 goes into 2019 with new financial backers to support its plans for geographic and market expansion.

Chief executive Mike Moore leads a restructured business which has seen principal backers Ethos Partners and Santander take over from Ares Capital, in a deal overseen by advisory firm Quantuma.

In a statement issued by Quantuma last month, Mike Moore (pictured) looks forward to "the next chapter" in Miles 33's history to roll out new products to provide best-in-class solutions and service.

"We expect to see a new phase of growth organically, and we will continue to look at acquisitions to expand our reach," he says. "After a period of ownership transition, we are delighted to have true long-term funding partners who are keen to support our strategy."

Growth plans include the further rollout of recently-developed Gemstone advertising suite, and increasing sales of Wave2 software in the wider corporate market. The US is seen as a significant growth opportunity, with Miles 33 already counting the Boston Globe, Maine Today Media and Record Journal among clients. It claims six of the UK's top ten regional press publishers as customers, along with New Straits Times Press and Kompas in southeast Asia, the US Supreme Court, Heart's White Directories and Gannett Directories.

A recent sale has been to Australian regional directory publisher Localsearch, which uses Miles 33's DIP pagination product to automate production of their 36 directories for Queensland, Northern NSW and the Northern Territory. The new system has reduced a process which used to take days, if not weeks, to a few hours, assembling indexed pages at up to 200 an hour.

In addition to its Bracknell headquarters, Miles 33 has offices in in the US, Italy and Malaysia, and employs more than 80 people, generating EBITDA in excess of GBP3 million.

Miles 33 celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2016. It was founded by - and named for - Roger Miles Holland, who was 33 at the time. A major growth phase began with its acquisition of Italian developer Tera Digital Publishing in 2010, and was followed by VirtualCom Interactive in 2013 and Wave 2 Media Solutions three years later.

In an anniversary statement, Mike Moore attributed the company's success to "delivering what we sell", operating within budget and not buying companies that have competing products, which he says, "only confuses or upsets customers".

Moore joined Miles 33 in 1989 and worked through customer support to become sales director and then managing director, leading a management buyout in 2007.

Quantuma partner Ian Barton - who advised on the original buyout - says the new financial deal highlights "the benefits of partnership, and the tenacity by both funders and management in delivering this transaction.

"I have seen it develop its software and geographical footprint and adeptly position the business as one of the global market-leaders in its product offering. We are delighted to have helped management achieve its ambitions alongside Ethos in their first investment."

New backer Ethos Partners is a private investment office recently set up by Julian Carr and Brian Phillips after 25 years in the private equity industry to invest their own money alongside that of investors, mainly entrepreneurs and retired private equity professionals.

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