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Lawrence Jones acquires leading security firm

Article date: Mon, 18 Jul 2016 15:40 GMT

Lawrence Jones CEO with the Pentest team

Secarma, the cyber security business owned by UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones MBE, today confirms the acquisition of Altrincham-based application security specialists Pentest Limited for an undisclosed sum.  

The CHECK and CREST accredited company, whose 45-strong team work with global blue chip organisations, is set to add significant new resources to the Manchester firm, including a team of ethical hackers. 

Managing Director for Pentest Limited, John Denneny, said: “In order for us to continue our current rapid growth curve, we believe the time was right to look for a partner whose approach to business and its employees very much mirrors ours. The deal gives us the opportunity to invest in our people and its future growth to a degree that we could not match standalone.   

“We have found the perfect partner in Secarma, an ambitious business with an existing management that demonstrates an understanding of our industry and its potential.” 

The deal offers the opportunity for both companies to merge their specialist IT knowledge and expand their existing client bases, while being perfectly placed to provide the highest level of online security.  

Pentest is set relocate to the UKFast Campus, where a cyber-security research lab and defensive security operations centre are currently under construction. 

Denneny said: “In recent years we have experienced a growing demand for quality security consultancy. Recruitment of highly skilled professionals remains a top priority for us but equally important is the retention of existing staff. This next step for us addresses both these challenges by offering an environment that will attract the very best. The purpose built research laboratory and our understanding that consultants want to be proud of the work they deliver ticks two of the most important boxes for high calibre consultants." 

Although Secarma will remain headquartered in the UK, the merger allows the business to grow its presence in the USA, where Pentest has an existing base of large Silicon Valley clients.  

Andy Hague, Managing Director at Secarma, said: “The American market is interesting because they take online security very seriously. Companies build it into their development cycles from the ground up much more so than is the norm elsewhere." 

“The UK is held in high regard globally for its cybersecurity expertise. Joining forces with Pentest means we are set to become one of the largest independent, accredited security companies in the UK and our expertise is extremely exportable. We expect to bring in some great people and grow our team to more than 100 within the next 12 months.” 

CEO Lawrence Jones called the deal “a great merger of similar cultures”. 

He said: “Our investment in Pentest is an investment in knowledge and talent. It's a demonstration of our intentions for both our clients at UKFast and the eCommerce and online community that we see security as an area of massive importance. Security is a fundamental part of our future."

The deal was led in house for Secarma by Catherine Houghton, Mergers and Acquisitions Director, and Nicola Frost, Head of Legal. 

Legal due diligence was undertaken by Nabarro. Pentest was advised by Ed Foulkes of Clarke Willmott. 


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