John Wiley acquires IT talent sourcer mthree for £100 million

07 January 2020 3 min. read
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Rapidly growing IT talent sourcing company mthree has been acquired by research and education firm John Wiley & Sons. The deal will conclude for a sum of £100 million, in a move that sees private equity firm ECI Partners exit mthree two years after investing in the firm.

ECI Partners is a private equity partner specialising in mid-sized growth businesses in the UK. Since 1990, ECI has overseen acquired enterprise value (EV) of £2.6 billion grow to £4.7 billion in EV realised investments, generating a realised uplift of £2.0 billion in value for investors. Recent investments include: KB Associates, a leading provider of management company (UCITS and AIFMD) and consulting services to investment funds and asset managers; outsourced communications provider Moneypenny; Send for Help, a provider of lone worker protection; and Travel Chapter, an online vacation rental platform.

In 2018, ECI invested in mthree, a company which seeks to address the IT skills gap by finding, training and placing job-ready technology talent in roles with leading corporations and government agencies worldwide. mthree also works with its clients to retrain and retain existing employees so they can continue to meet the changing demands of today’s technology landscape. The company’s revenue for calendar year 2019 is expected to be over $50 million, with a projected annual growth rate of over 20%.

John Wiley acquires IT talent sourcer mthree for £100 million

Satisfied at the rate at which it mthree has grown its EV, ECI has opted to exit the company, with the news it will sell the company to John Wiley & Sons. In 2020, there will be over 1.8 million unfilled computer-related job opportunities in the US and EMEA, yet only 100,000 computer science grads, according to industry statistics – something which made mthree exceedingly attractive to John Wiley. The deal will conclude for a fee of £100 million.

ECI’s Richard Chapman said of the news, "We are delighted that mthree has found a perfect strategic fit with Wiley, which is known for its leadership in Education. We believe this transaction will further accelerate mthree's North American growth which has been a key part of the company's transformation over the past two years. We would like to thank Alex and his team for a very successful partnership and wish them well for the future.”

"The last five years have seen tremendous growth for mthree. We have been on a journey from a start-up to a global corporation that includes partnerships with the world’s largest banks and disruptive tech businesses,” added Alex Headley, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, mthree. “Wiley will enable mthree’s strategic growth plans to be realised, helping more graduates navigate the changing world of work and our clients grow their businesses with the right talent.”

Diversified financial services company Jefferies acted as mthree’s sole financial advisor on this transaction. Addleshaw Goddard acted as legal advisor to ECI Partners, while Osborne Clarke acted as legal advisor to mthree management.