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Our Corporate Finance team advises YFM Equity Partners on the Management Buy Out of Smart Numbers Ltd

5 March 2024

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We are pleased to announce our role as Corporate Finance adviser to YFM Equity Partners (‘YFM’), on the Management Buy Out of Smart Numbers Ltd.

Founded in 2005 by Scott Woolaway, Southampton based Smart Numbers originally aimed to provide small businesses with trackable inbound phone numbers that could be placed in advertising. It has since evolved into a Google Partnered digital marketing business that combines website development, alongside personalised optimisation software and smart telephony solutions, boosting lead generation for thousands of businesses across the UK.

Smart Numbers is well placed to capitalise on the switch-off of the UK's analogue phone network due at the end of 2025. Businesses will be required to move from the PSTN to IP-based services before the deadline. The £18.1m buyout by YFM will enable the company to take full advantage of these developing market conditions.

Tim Hutchings, MD at Smart Numbers, commented, "Our business is now ideally placed to pursue a new era of growth and to position itself as a go-to communications provider of digital marketing telephony for increasing numbers of small businesses in the UK and North America.”

Richard Last, former Chair of Gamma, joins the business as non-executive chair to support the company’s growth strategy, with Nathan Willis remaining as Finance Director. Scott Woolaway will continue to hold a significant shareholding in the business, retaining a position on the board post-investment as Vice Chairman.

YFM partner David Wrench said: "Smart Numbers is a very well-regarded, specialist business that has dedicated itself to meeting the ever-evolving needs of its customers. We are confident that it will continue to follow a strong growth trajectory, as it helps more customers switch to cloud-based, digital telephony and reaches a wider swathe of the small business sector with its raft of expert marketing services.''

“We were delighted to work with Stuart and the team at James Cowper Kreston on the transaction. Their insight and tenacity to help us at every stage of the transaction process was invaluable and we look forward to working with them again in the future."

Stuart Williams, Partner and Head of Corporate Finance at James Cowper Kreston commented, “It was great to work with the YFM team again and build further on our credentials in the TMT sector. Smart Numbers is an exciting business and, led by strong management team with the support of YFM, is clearly well placed to pursue its growth ambitions, as it broadens its customer reach. I wish Tim, Richard, my former colleague Nathan and the team luck and success on the next stage of their journey.”