Grimsby payment entrepreneur completes major business sale to US tech giant

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 2 Mar 2017

A PAYMENT processing entrepreneur from Grimsby has sold his national business, Retail Merchant Services, in a multi-million pound deal.

TCV, a major US investor in technology companies, has swooped for the Milton Keynes-based company founded by Paul Bentham.

He set it up in 2007, having sold his majority share in Grimsby-based Cardsave a few years earlier, having launched that in 1995.

Mr Bentham said the acquisition, and associated investment, will support RMS’s next phase of growth and continued innovation of payment services for its customers. 

RMS’s shareholders, including Mr Bentham and the management team, have reinvested alongside TCV. 

As part of the transaction, John Rosenberg, general partner at TCV, will join the company’s board of directors, together with Jim Aviles, former chief operating officer of Merchant e-Solutions. The investment in RMS comes from TCV’s $2.5 billion growth fund.

Mr Bentham said: “TCV has a stellar track record and brings a genuinely distinct approach of real partnership with chief executives and founders as they scale their business to reach market leadership.”

Grimsby law firm Wilkin Chapman, together with PwC and non-executive director Iain Stuart Robson advised on the undisclosed deal.

Gareth Poppleton, managing director of RMS, added: “What especially attracted us to TCV is its tremendous expertise in the fintech sector and broader connections with technology leaders around the world.”

PROUD COMPANY The 2016 annual conference from Retail Merchant Services on Vimeo.

According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, there are more than 1.2 million businesses in the UK with less than 50 employees, the majority of which require some form of payments solution. 

Mr Bentham’s motivation was bringing affordable card payment solutions to small businesses, having experienced the costs with his initial business, North Lincs Tyres, at Lockhill, Grimsby. There was a perception of “overcharge, under-service” from the banks. 

Based on simple bulk-buying principles with a strong and supportive sales force, first Cardsave, then RMS, grew into a trusted payment services providers, providing credit and debit card payment machines and associated processing. 

He sold his majority share in Moss Road-based Cardsave in 2004, in a management buy out, with managing director Jim Ormonde taking control. In 2008, Clive Kahn – backed by private equity – acquired it, selling to Worldpay in 2015. 

As recently reported, Mr Kahn returned to Grimsby, launching Payzone UK in the town after Worldpay closed Cardsave's Grimsby office, a move seen as reneging on assurances Mr Kahn believed he had been given as part of the deal. 

Founded in 1995, TCV provides capital to growth-stage private and public companies in the technology industry. With offices in California, New York and London, TCV has invested approximately $9 billion in leading technology companies. Over the past four years, TCV has invested nearly $700 million into leading technology companies headquartered in Europe.

“RMS is a very well-run, highly efficient and profitable payments services business with a strong sales culture,” said Mr Rosenberg. “Paul, Gareth, and the team have built a durable operating model – with no outside investment – and have created a very loyal base of SME customers. We very much look forward to partnering with the team as they continue on their impressive journey.”

TCV includes Facebook, Netflix, Expedia, and Spotify in an investment portfolio. 

In Grimsby the deal was handled by Ian Sherburn, partner and corporate law specialist at Wilkin Chapman, supported by his team in Cartergate House. 

He told how the stamina and determination of the team to deliver an exceptional result for the client saw extremely long hours worked over many months. Commenting on the sale, Mr Sherburn said “My team have worked exceptionally hard over the last few months on this transaction. The support from Adam Aisthorpe, Adam Ottley and Tom Rook has been fundamental in achieving an excellent result for our client.

The lawyer, who worked for two City law firms before returning to his family roots in 2000, said the transaction demonstrated the skill and expertise that sits within the corporate and commercial team.

 “I am exceptionally proud of my team and the result that we have achieved for our client,” he added.

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