Finance: Touchstone buys Tate Bramald to establish IT unit

A specialist unit providing IT services to more than 400 charity and non-profit organisations is being created following the £1.2m acquisition of Tate Bramald by the Touchstone group.

Tate Bramald, which was founded by Charity Finance Directors' Group IT adviser John Tate, had 190 clients, including Unicef UK. It was sold by Tate to Opus Systems in 2002.

The new unit will pool the capacity of both firms to provide IT support in areas such as donor management and Sorp reporting. It will also help to facilitate the sharing of best practice between charities. Clients include the RNIB and Concern.

Keith Birch, chief executive of Touchstone, said: "Tate Bramald and Touchstone have been friendly rivals for many years. We have competed on many occasions and have watched each other's development with interest.

"The market is consolidating fast, and Touchstone is well placed to be one of very few dominant players that deliver great service to a large number of clients."

Tate Bramald chairman Peter De Haan commented: "Touchstone's reputation and strength combined with Tate Bramald's excellent client list and skilled staff will simply be a formidable combination."

Tate, who is now an independent IT consultant, said: "It will be interesting to see what Touchstone puts back into the charity sector. It has been relatively quiet in the sector for the past year.

"It could either treat charities as a cash cow or grow what it does."

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