Woods Group buys donations-processing firm Valldata

The purchase by the charity services provider took place on 31 August

The donations-processing company Valldata has been bought by the charity services provider the Woods Group for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition formally took place on 31 August with the transfer of Valldata from the VRD Group, which was formed after it purchased Valldata in May last year, to the Woods Group, which specialises in charity raffles, lotteries and payment processing.

The headquarters of Valldata and the Woods Group are located nine miles away from each other near Chippenham, Wiltshire, but the two companies will move to a joint, purpose-built headquarters in summer 2018, according to a statement from the Woods Group.

Valldata made a loss of £2m in the year to 31 March 2016 according to its accounts filed with Companies House, with a turnover of £6.8m.

The accounts said negative media coverage of fundraising in 2015 had affected the ability of the company’s clients to raise money, resulting in the downturn of the company’s results. But the accounts said that the accountants Deloitte believed the company was still a going concern.

Ian Scarr, managing director of the Woods Group, has been appointed chief executive of Valldata, the statement said. Scott Gray, who was chief executive of Valldata before its transfer to the Woods Group, will continue as chief executive of the VRD Group and Rapidata Services, the direct-debit-processing company it also owns.

The statement said no decision had yet been made about whether the two companies would keep their individual branding or combine to create a new brand.

Scarr said: "Nothing has been decided yet regarding our final shape in terms of people or branding. We will need to work with and get to know our new members of staff for a smooth transition, and we’re very much aiming for no job losses. To be clear, this is not a merger of two companies but very much an expansion of our group." 

He said that although there were no plans to change or reduce staff numbers, there would "need to be some small changes" to the way the two teams worked, such as the introduction of partnership working across teams where services could dovetail.

He declined to say how much Valldata had been bought for. The company was purchased for £6.5m by the private equity firm Livingbridge in 2011 before it was bought by its management team, which then formed the VFD Group in 2016.

Gray said: "The not-for-profit market has significantly changed over the past couple of years and this brings pressures to suppliers to adapt too.

"It became clear that, to grow Valldata, further investment was required, and joining forces with the Woods Group presents a great opportunity for the company, the staff and the sector. It’s an extremely positive move for all parties involved."

He said Rapidata would remain on hand as a strategic partner and would continue to work alongside Valldata.

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