Thursfields Solicitors has advised the management team of Malvern-based assistive technology company Smartbox on its joint venture with AIM-listed CareTech Holdings plc and acquisition of Smartbox Assistive Technology and Sensory Software International.
Corporate director Gareth Burge led the team and was supported by Joe Rollins (solicitor, corporate), Reece De-Vaney (solicitor, corporate) and Helena Morrisey (head of employment).
The seller was the Swedish listed company Tobii AB.
Tobii acquired Smartbox in August 2018 with the ambition of accelerating the pace of innovation and development of the assistive technology for communications industry. However, the British competition and marketing authority, CMA, concluded that the merger could lead to reduced competition in the UK and in January 2020, it was ruled that Tobii must divest Smartbox.
Smartbox is a market-leading creator of software and hardware that helps disabled people without speech to have a voice and live more independently.
It makes communication as quick, simple and effective as possible for those service users for whom speech difficulties can be a challenge. Its solutions include communication aids, environmental control devices, computer control technology and interactive learning.
It is estimated that more than 50 million people globally could benefit from augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).
Smartbox is among the top four global companies to provide complete AAC solutions. Its flagship “Grid” software supports more than 10,000 children and adults with the use of AAC every year and is translated into over 30 different languages and is supplied into as many countries.
Gareth Burge said: “Smartbox is the market leader in the UK, with approximately 50% of revenues generated through NHS funding.
“CareTech and Smartbox both support service users with learning disabilities, autism and acquired disability for example, through stroke or brain damage following an injury. CareTech looks after more than 4500 service users and Smartbox offers a unique opportunity to introduce AAC solutions.
“We were delighted to have been able to advise and support the management team on the deal.”
Smartbox Holdings Ltd will pay up to £10,600,000 comprising of an aggregate initial purchase price of £7,050,000, funded through an equity contribution and loan note from CareTech and equity contribution from the minority holders of Smartbox Holdings Limited. Earn-outs of up to £3,550,000 are payable over a two year period from completion.