Rapidata acquired by investors that bought Valldata

VRD Group, which was registered with Companies House last month, has added the direct debit processing firm to its portfolio

Rapidata's offices
Rapidata's offices

The direct debit processing company Rapidata Services has been sold by the now-defunct fundraising agency group Fundraising Initiatives to the same private investors who last month acquired the donations processing firm Valldata.

Scott Gray, managing director of Rapidata, told Third Sector today that the acquisition was completed yesterday. He said Fundraising Initiatives had been required to sell off its 74 per cent stake in the company in order to pay off its debts, which according to Companies House exceeded £3m after the company went into administration last year.

Gray said four individual investors also sold the remaining 26 per cent of the company they collectively held since the 1990s, giving the new investors a 100 per cent stake in the business.

Rapidata, which is based in Crawley, West Sussex, and Valldata, which is based in Melksham, Wiltshire, are now held by a holding company, VRD Group, which was registered on Companies House last month.

VRD is owned by Max Ashton and Andrew Clarfield, two finance professionals affiliated with the real estate investment firm Ashton Finance. 

Speaking about the sale of Valldata last month, Greg Michael, chief executive of Valldata, had declined to name the investors, saying only that Valldata had been sold to a group of individuals who had experience in companies that provided services to the charity sector. But Gray said today he was unaware of the investors having experience in the sector.

Asked about this, a spokeswoman for Michael said he meant that the investors were keen charity supporters.

Gray said he would continue to manage Rapidata under its new ownership and that it was unlikely that the company would need to make any redundancies of its 21 staff.

The companies would retain their own brands and service operations, he said, and existing client contracts and relationships would remain unchanged. Current Rapidata clients include the Bristol-based hospital charity Above & Beyond, Children in Crisis and the hospice Helen & Douglas House.

According to accounts filed with Companies House, Rapidata had a turnover of £2.2m and made an operating profit of £609,000 in 2015.

Gray also said in a statement: "This buyout is good news for our clients, our staff and the wider sector. We will be working together to further invest in and enhance our offerings in supporting charities and not-for-profits."

Michael said: "Valldata is delighted to have partnered with Rapidata. The breadth of services that Valldata and Rapidata can offer together allows us to provide the most comprehensive and differentiated payment processing and campaign fulfilment service in the sector."

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