The Belfast farm-management software company FarmWizard has been taken over by an Australian rival as part of an £8 million deal by the British investment firm Wheatsheaf Group.
The British investment firm, which is part of a business empire controlled by the Duke of Westminster, has acquired a minority stake in AgriWebb, a Sydney-headquartered start up whose software is used on 2,700 farms mainly in Australia.
AgriWebb in turn, as part of the £8 million transaction, has now taken control of FarmWizard, which was set up in 2005 by Northern entrepreneur Terry Canning. The Belfast-headquartered agricultural software company has been part of the Wheatsheaf Group since 2015.
The British investment firm said the “digitisation of agriculture” was a growing trend and that uniting AgriWebb and FarmWizard would create a new “ground-breaking” solution for the agri sector.
According to Mr Canning, chief executive of FarmWizard, the opportunity to become part of the AgriWebb group will benefit its customers, who include more than 1,000 farmers in Northern Ireland and across Britain.
“Over the last 14 years we have built a platform that allows both farmers and processors to digitise their business and generate production efficiencies. With this deal our customers will enjoy improved support and product enhancements from the AgriWebb platform,” he said.
Meanwhile his former industry competitor, AgriWebb's chairman and founder Justin Webb, said that combining both his group's expertise and that of FarmWizard could help agricultural enterprises from farms to processors and retailers become "more efficient".
“AgriWebb’s mission is to enable the agriculture sector to enhance its offering through digital technologies. Farming in the UK represents a significant part of the economy, providing 61 per cent of the raw materials for the wider UK agri-food industry, contributing £10 billion to the economy and employing over half a million people,” he said.
“Combining the capabilities of AgriWebb and FarmWizard will provide both the best data-driven decision tool for farmers and the best supply chain provenance platform for advisers, processors and retailers.”