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Hospitality software firm Flow merges with Madrid’s MAPAL

David and Ruth Wither: stepping back

US investor Providence Equity Partners has acquired Edinburgh technology firm Flow Hospitality Training and merged it with a Spanish software business.

The deal will extend the range of services that Flow and Madrid-based MAPAL can offer to a range of clients in the hospitality and leisure sector.

Flow offers a software-as-a-Service (SaaS) learning platform which will combine with the MAPAL’s workforce management and business analytics software.

Flow represents the second hospitality platform acquisition by Providence Strategic Growth, the growth equity affiliate of Providence Equity Partners.

Founded by Edinburgh entrepreneurs Ruth and David Wither in 2009, Flow’s clients now include brands such as Soho House, The Hoxton, Sodexo and Diageo.

The merged business will be led by MAPAL founder and CEO Jorge Lurueña, with Mr and Mrs Wither retaining a stake in the group and a seat on the board, but stepping back from day to day leadership of Flow.

Mr Luruena will combine his MAPAL senior management team with that of Flow and all staff within both companies will be retained and employee numbers grown as the new enterprise extends its reach across the market.

EY Scotland’s corporate finance team, led by Ally Scott, originated the transaction as sole financial advisers to the shareholders of Flow Hospitality. The UK software sector team led by Alastair Jamieson, introduced the opportunity to Providence and MAPAL. Addleshaw Goddard, Edinburgh, provided legal advice to Flow.

Commenting on the deal, Mr Wither, CEO of Flow Hospitality, said: “Flow is a company with tremendous growth opportunities and as such we were keen to secure significant investment for the business to reach its full potential.

“It was however incredibly important to Ruth and I to get the right fit for the business and find like-minded investors and partners to go forward with.

“Having spent time with both Providence and MAPAL during the process, we are extremely delighted with the partnership and confident of continued growth and success going forward.”

Jorge Lurueña, who takes on the role of Group CEO with immediate effect, added: “We believe this alliance will create more opportunities for Flow and MAPAL.

“Ruth and David have built a tremendous business – offering a complete solution that brings real benefit to its loyal client base – and we are grateful for the trust they have placed in us.”

Mr Scott, head of transaction advisory services and managing partner for EY Scotland, said: “This has been a fantastic deal to work on.

“A deal such as this is further indication of the vibrancy and ambition we have here in the Scottish middle market. Despite ongoing uncertainty, Scotland’s key sectors are in growth mode and we are seeing opportunities domestically and internationally for those looking to expand their operations through M&A activity.”

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