Galway-based EssentialSkillz acquired for €29.6m

London-listed Marlowe buying e-learning and cloud-based compliance software provider

EssentialSkillz, a Galway-based provider of e-learning and cloud-based compliance software, has been acquired in a £25 million (€29.6 million) deal.

The buyer is Marlowe, a London-listed security systems services company, which is proposing a share placing to raise £50 million to fund the deal and for additional bolt-on acquisitions.

Marlowe said the acquisition would increase its run-rate revenue and adjusted earnings to £335 million and £60 million respectively and is expected to be “earnings enhancing” in the first full year of ownership.

The acquisition will result in more than 10 per cent of the group’s run-rate revenue being generated from cloud-based solutions, Marlowe said.


Founded by husband-and-wife team Tony and Michelle Dervan in 2001, EssentialSkillz has more than 500 SME customers. It is generating revenue of £4.5 million and adjusted ebitda accounting for 95 per cent of total revenue. The company had net assets of about £2.3 million as of the end of last year.

EssentialSkillz has a popular solution called WorkWize that helps organisations with their risk and compliance needs. It also offers more than 70 customisable e-learning courses that are focused on health and safety, business protection and wellbeing.

Marlowe, which is targeting run-rate revenue of £100 million by the end of 2024, is issuing 5,512,679 new ordinary shares of 50 pence each at 907 pence per share to fund the deal for EssentialSkillz.

“This acquisition of EssentialSkillz is the next step in our strategy to become the compliance software market leader. EssentialSkillz is a leading compliance SaaS and e-learning business of scale and its merger with our new WorkNest platform further strengthens our one-stop-shop regulatory compliance offering for our clients,” said chief executive Alex Dacre.

Marlowe has made 20 acquisitions this year, spending more than £196 million since the start of the year.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist