Private equity firm LDC agrees sale of Chelmsford-based Clifford Thames to US group OEConnection

Vehicle data management firm Clifford Thames is to be acquired by OEConnection Holdings.
Picture: C

Vehicle data management firm Clifford Thames is to be acquired by OEConnection Holdings. Picture: Clifford Thames/JournoLink - Credit: Archant

Essex-based vehicle data management company Clifford Thames is to be acquired, for an undisclosed sum, by United States-based automotive technology provider OEConnection Holdings.

Clifford Thames, which has its headquarters in Chelmsford, serves customers in more than 120 countries, creating and managing data required for the repair and maintenance of vehicles on behalf of manufacturers, repairers and leasing and fleet companies.

It also has six overseas offices, in the Europe, North America and Asia Pacific regions, and employes nearly 500 people in total.

Clifford Thames, previously owned by private equity investor LDC, will now become a wholly-owned subsidiary of OEConnection, with which it already has a long-standing working relationship.

Neville Davis, chairman of Clifford Thames, said: “This transaction with OEConnection Holdings is a genuine ‘win-win’. We have known, and worked with, their portfolio company, OEC, for many years.

“The two organisations focus on the same market and share similar culture and values; our solutions are very complementary, with no overlap, and the geographical fit is excellent, giving the enlarged group remarkable global coverage.

“Clifford Thames and OEConnection Holdings each have their own ambitious plans for growth; together, the potential for success is substantively greater. This is very positive or the customers and employees of both companies.”

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Mr Davis added: “Clifford Thames has performed strongly over the last three years, substantially growing both revenues and profits. We have extensively enhanced the solutions we provide, based upon our deep understating of the global automotive aftermarket and the data and processes at the heart of it.

“Worldwide, we have won some major new clients, whilst further comprehensively developing relationships with our existing customers. Great credit is due to the excellent management and staff of the business.”

Clifford Thames relocated to Chelmsford in 2001, having previously been based at Hutton, near Brentwood. LDC took a controlling stake in Clifford Thames in 2014 when it supported a £50m management buyout.

Before moving into data mangement in 1978, the business was based largely on printing. It was originally established in 1948 in north London as a publisher of local newspapers, which were sold in 1957.