Anderson Anderson & Brown (AAB), the tech-enabled business critical services group, has announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Edinburgh-based Purpose HR.
Purpose HR provides human resources (HR) advice and support to early stage and high growth investor-backed businesses through tailored consultancy and ‘HR as a service’ outsourcing. It was founded in 2014 by Lisa Thomson, a former Saltire Fellow who worked at Wolfson Microelectronics post-IPO and prior to its acquisition by Cirrus Logic in 2014. Lisa is also a former Scotland Director for Startup Grind and an Ambassador for Women’s Enterprise Scotland. The company was among the first cohort of businesses on the Scottish Enterprise-backed ‘Unlocking Ambition’ programme.
Purpose HR is a strategic fit with AAB group, complementing the group’s high growth areas including payroll and virtual finance. The acquisition, which is for an undisclosed sum, follows AAB announcing its ambitious growth plans to become a £50 million revenue group by 2025 and its recent merger with Glasgow-based accountants Hardie Caldwell.
The deal with Purpose HR not only adds a new dimension to the group’s growing central belt presence but provides exciting growth opportunities across the UK and internationally. The acquisition will also accelerate Purpose HR’s growth aspirations, with the business continuing to operate under the Purpose HR brand and Thomson running the business as CEO and shareholder.
Purpose HR’s client base is currently focused on the tech and life science sectors, and includes Cyan Forensics, Blackford Analysis, Modulr Finance and Topolytics. The combined group will actively target further growth in the tech sector across the UK. In addition, AAB is seeking to broaden Purpose HR’s offering into other key growth sectors such as energy, food and drink and business services. As a result, Purpose HR is actively looking to grow its headcount with a significant recruitment campaign kicking off immediately following the transaction. There are to be no job losses at Purpose HR or AAB as a result of the deal.
AAB group now has a combined headcount of over 340 staff across its Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Aberdeen offices, 10 of those coming from Purpose HR, and a turnover of over £30 million.
Graeme Allan, Chief Executive at AAB, commented: “As a business critical services group, we are focused on providing solutions for our clients across the key areas of finance and HR. Purpose HR being part of the AAB group enables us to continue to build our capabilities in the HR space and extend our payroll and HR offering to clients.
“We are delighted to welcome Purpose HR to the group and our growing team in the Central Belt, and look forward to exploring the ways in which we can enhance our service offering to existing and new clients across the UK and internationally.”
Lisa Thomson added: “We have known AAB for a number of years and already have several mutual clients. The deal has come together at a great time for us as we look to accelerate our next stage of growth. It has been an exciting journey for the team and I to grow Purpose HR to this stage and having the chance to support so many amazing and innovative clients. Despite the challenges of the last year our client base has been actively growing and companies are increasingly recognising the value of investing in HR support and their people. By becoming an AAB group company we will have access to the wider group resources and infrastructure, enabling us to increase the range of services we can offer to clients and to expand our team – we will be hiring across Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow and London.”