Cork software firm CoreHR bought by US investors behind Everton FC bid

CoreHR, which develops and sells payroll and attendance software that is used extensively in Irish government and private multinational companies, has sold a majority interest in the company to the Baltimore-based equity firm JMI Equity. The US company has almost €1bn invested in 34 technology companies.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. However, recent accounts for the Cork company show turnover of €24.5m and a net profit of €3m for 2014.

“JMI will take a majority interest in the company,” John Goulding, chief executive of CoreHR, told the Irish Independent. “The founders will retain a significant shareholding in the company but JMI will now be the major shareholders.”

The move could set up new sporting connections between Cork and Liverpool. JMI founders John Moores and Charles Noell are currently linked to a €265m bid for Everton football club. Mr Moores is a former owner of the San Diego Padres baseball team, which he purchased from current Liverpool FC chairman Tom Werner in 1994.

The new CoreHR owners also have previously established Irish roots. In 2013, Mr Moores and Mr Noell bought 30 horses from Kilfrush Stud in Co Limerick. And Mr Noell has a company in Ireland called Merriebelle Farms, which is based at Ardbraccan House in Navan, an estate he reportedly paid €5m for.

CoreHR was founded in 1982 by Sean Murphy, who will remain the company’s executive chairman.

“Our software is used to pay teachers, guards, other institutions and most of the pharmaceutical sector multinationals in Ireland,” said Mr Goulding.

“Over the last couple of years, we’ve had massive growth in the UK where we won major contracts with the likes of Arcadia Group, which owns Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridges and others.”

Other customers include Pfizer, Ladbrokes and Primark, he said.

“We are the HR system running these large organisations, processing billions in revenue for them every year. And we’re winning these contracts against the global players every year.”

Mr Goulding said that the company’s revenue has been growing by 25pc each year over the last number of years.

“We’ve been very profitable every year but we’re looking to expand at an accelerated growth level into new markets,” he said. “We’ve already broken into the US market but we’re looking to build on that and in European markets too. So for the last 12 months we’ve been looking to take on investment to help that.”

Mr Goulding said that the US investment will be used to hire more people in Ireland and in the new markets it hopes to develop.

“We’re already employing 300 people in Ireland and we’d expect that to grow,” he said. “We’d expect that our growth 35pc this year will be sustained over the next number of years. Our ambition is to become the global market leader.”

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