Project Description

HMT LLP advised leading global communications partner Conn3ct on their acquisition of ICR Speech Solutions & Services Ltd, a highly specialised speech application development company in interactive voice response (IVR) and next generation speech bot technology.

IVR is a critical technology in contact centres, providing the initial response to a customer caller before they reach an agent. Dramatic advances in technology and the introduction of artificial intelligence and machine learning have driven IVR from basic ‘call steering’ towards a more context-aware, personalised customer experience. Conn3ct had been looking for a partner to complement its skillset and offer a fully automated caller experience where complex queries can be quickly identified and routed to a live agent. Conn3ct identified ICR as the perfect partner.

Based in Yorshire, ICR is a leading supplier of conversational applications incorporating Voice Assistants, IVR, Speech Recognition, Voice Biometrics and messaging and has over 20 years trading experience.

ICR adds important IP and capability to Conn3ct’s proposition. These include the ‘Decision Engine’, which adds historical and real-time context to the caller’s intent, captured using Natural Language, to correctly route calls to automated services or live agents and the ‘Data Services Layer’, which applies business-specific logic to drive intelligent user interactions. Technology in development includes a tool to read in Nuance natural language (NLCS) content and export a Google DialogFlow or Lex app for a combined chat/IVR experience and the ability to blend on-premise IVR with cloud-based Speech AI – seamlessly.

Conn3ct sees the acquisition of ICR as creating value in the business over the longer term. The combination of ICR’s highly capable developers, the processes that they’ve created around developing bespoke IVR applications, and the credibility of proven solutions to existing customers, such as Lloyds Bank, Vodafone and Capita, are unique in the marketplace.

Following the successful merger of Connect Managed Services and G3 Comms in 2019, which HMT advised on, ICR represents a compelling strategic acquisition in line with the ongoing acquisitive strategy supported by Apiary.

HMT undertook financial due diligence for Conn3ct on this transaction.

Alex Tupman, CEO at Conn3ct commented:

“HMT were the natural selection for financial due diligence provider on this acquisition having advised us on the merger with G3 last year. Previous knowledge of the business and the sector led to a fast, pain free and ultimately successful process. Thank you to Paul, Andrew and the team for all their professionalism and pragmatic advice.”

Paul Read commented:

“We are delighted to have once again advised Alex and the management team at Conn3ct on another successful transaction. ICR’s acquisition is a key development in Conn3ct’s M&A strategy and we look forward to working with them again in the future as they grow and expand.”