September 2023: Ensors recently advised the shareholders of Bridgehead, also known as Harper Morris Payroll, Bridgehead Europe and Bridgehead UK, on the sale of 100% of the share capital to IRIS Software Group (IRIS).
Based in Bishops Stortford, Bridgehead provides an extensive range of fully managed payroll services and employee benefits to clients across the UK and Europe. Alongside offering a range of payroll services including payroll bureau, hosted payroll and fully managed payroll, Bridgehead also provides trusted advice and practical assistance with other HR and employee benefit matters, from employment contracts to recruitment and individual tax advice.
Richard Barnes, the majority shareholder, acquired the core payroll business in April 2011 before spending the next 12 years building the client base and service offering. Richard was assisted in achieving the growth by two minority shareholders who will stay with the group for the foreseeable future.
Richard stated, “For nearly four decades, our team of experienced and committed payroll specialists has consistently delivered excellent customer service to our portfolio valued customers. I am incredibly proud of everything the team has accomplished and I know IRIS is an incredibly safe pair of hands for both our colleagues and customers.”
Ensors first discussed potential valuations with Richard in 2022 before beginning to market the business in June 2023. IRIS was selected as preferred bidder and executed the transaction in under two months.
Simon Martin and Ross Rowan provided lead advisory services to the shareholders, with sale-side legal advice coming from the Ellisons team of Petra Sharp, Abigail Williamson and Stephanie Lems.
Richard Barnes commented, “I am pleased to complete the sale to IRIS to enhance the service to all our valued customers. Thank you to Simon and Ross at Ensors for their guidance throughout the project. Their advice and knowledge made a potentially daunting time into a manageable process.”
Simon Martin of Ensors said, “This was an enjoyable deal to be a part of and a good one for both sides. To go from exclusivity to completion in under two months took a great deal of effort from all parties and we thank IRIS for their approach. I’m really pleased for Richard; he was a brilliant client and this deal was well-deserved after a career within the payroll industry.”
The IRIS team was led by Will Cooke with external advice from Eversheds Sutherland and EY.