CareTech Holdings, which provides social care services for adults and children in the UK, has acquired Smartbox Assistive Technology and Sensory Software International (collectively Smartbox).

CareTech stated that it has identified diagnostic assistive technology and behavioural assessment solutions as priority areas for technology investment and adoption and the Smartbox investment fits with this.

Smartbox creates software and hardware that helps disabled people without speech to live more independently. Its solutions include communication aids, environmental control devices, computer control technology and interactive learning. Smartbox is headquartered in Malvern, with offices in Bristol and Pennsylvania and was acquired by Tobii AB in 2018. Following an inquiry from the Competition and Markets Authority, Tobii was required to sell Smartbox on competition grounds, providing CareTech the opportunity to secure a majority equity stake in the tech firm. 

To facilitate the acquisition, CareTech has established a new subsidiary, Smartbox Holdings, which is 70% owned by CareTech, with the remaining minority ownership held by the Smartbox management team comprising Dougal Hawes, Jarrod Inott and Hannah Church as well as previous owners Paul and Alyson Hawes.

Smartbox Holdings will pay up to £10.6 million comprising of an aggregate initial purchase price of £7.05 million, funded through an equity contribution and loan note from CareTech and equity contribution from the minority holders of Smartbox Holdings. Earn-outs of up to £3.55 million are payable over a two-year period from completion. CareTech’s contribution will be funded from existing cash resources.

Farouq Sheikh, CareTech’s chairman, said: “We have been discerning in selecting as an anchor digital investment a business that is not only a global assistive technology player but one that firmly shares CareTech’s values and social purpose to improve the lives of disabled people. The Smartbox team has done a great job at creating sector-leading communication solutions for people without speech. Smartbox becoming part of CareTech will enable more children and adults with complex needs to have access to the company’s flagship assistive technology solutions.”

Date published: October 6, 2020

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