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The deal underlines LGB’s tech sector expertise, experience advising established mid-market UK businesses and access to strong international buyer network.
LGB Corporate Finance, one of the UK’s principal mid-market corporate finance firms, has advised Virtalis Ltd, the world-leading Virtual Reality (VR), simulation technology and advanced visualisation company, on the sale of a significant stake to Alpina Partners , the independent London and Munich based European tech growth investment firm.
Following the acquisition by Alpina, which will take a significant shareholding, Virtalis’ founders David Cockburn-Price and Andrew Connell will remain with the business , to continue to drive the company forward.
Virtalis is a world leader in advanced 3D visualisation, VR and simulation technologies. Over the last two decades, advances in the computerisation of design and the digitisation of business processes have left firms struggling to process, understand and utilise vast amounts of useful ‘big data.’
The company’s unique software improves design quality and immensely reduces the product development costs associated with creating 2D prototypes. By translating streams of data into immersive 3D visualisations for the end user, Virtalis products transform business and employee interaction, streamlining processes and ultimately boosting efficiency.
Headquartered in the UK, with offices in the US, Germany and Malaysia, Virtalis is a market leader in its core sectors of engineering, defence, research and academia, geoscience and healthcare throughout the UK, Europe, the US, South America and the Far East.
Virtalis’ full suite of advanced 3D visualisation and VR solutions have secured the company a high-profile client base of blue chip industrial enterprises.
The commercial VR market is widely believed to be at the start of a period of rapid, sustained growth and while recent global M&A transactions have raised the profile of VR in both the consumer and gaming spheres, the enterprise uses of VR are expected to be one of the areas of strongest growth. The business enterprise VR arena, is projected to expand rapidly and be worth over $4.5bn (£3.5bn) by 2020. Within this, the virtual prototyping/3D modelling market is expected to exhibit the strongest growth, with a CAGR of 96% giving a total global market size of $3.2bn (£2.5bn) by 2020.
Alpina’s acquisition of Virtalis will bolster Virtalis’ ability to capitalise on the industry’s growth potential and roll out its existing products to a broader client base. In addition it will help ensure that Virtalis’ R&D division is well resourced so the firm can remain at the forefront of VR innovation. Alpina also has a portfolio of leading European tech businesses with strong technical USPs, which will provide opportunities for knowledge and innovation sharing as well as other synergies.
Angus Grierson, Director, LGB Corporate Finance commented: “We are delighted to have advised on this deal for Virtalis, which is a clear VR market leader and has developed a best-in-class suite of products that provides such a broad range of cost and efficiency benefits for its clients. Industrial enterprise VR is set for explosive growth, and we were pleased to have identified and advised on a successful transaction with Alpina, which has the capabilities and resources to help drive Virtalis’ continued growth.”
Managing Director of Virtalis, David Cockburn-Price explained: “ALPINA is an experienced growth investor which will help us to ensure the sustainable development of Virtalis, especially with reference to our direct and indirect sales channels. We will become part of a larger group of innovative software businesses within ALPINA’s investment portfolio, exploiting synergies on many different levels.”
Virtalis Technical director, Andrew Connell, commented: “My entire career has been spent nurturing Virtalis and its predecessor entities as the fledgling field of VR has moved from research demonstrator programmes within Universities to the compelling real-world, commercial toolkit it is today. Back in the 90s, many commentators said VR was dead – it has been gratifying to prove them wrong as Virtalis has brought VR solutions to industries as diverse as Engineering, Defence, Academia, Asset Management and Leisure. With the help of ALPINA, we aim to rapidly develop our technology to reach a larger global user base.”
Dr Florian Strehle, partner at ALPINA, commented on the investment firm’s latest addition to its portfolio: “We are excited to be supporting the next phase of Virtalis’ worldwide growth strategy. Virtalis has launched innovative software like Visionary Render, VR4CAD and GeoVisionary in recent years, to work with its well-known ActiveWorks VR display systems, and this is where we see the growth potential. We will work with the Virtalis management team to further develop the Company as a leading player in the global enterprise VR software market by leveraging our network and expertise.”