Bristol’s Zellis Group has been acquired in a deal worth a reported £1.25 billion.

Funds advised by Apax Partners LLP have reached a definitive agreement to acquire the payroll and HR software firm from Bain Capital.

Bloomberg sources said the deal values Zellis – which serves approximately one third of the FTSE 100, with its payroll software used to pay or reward around five million individuals with benefits each month – at £1.25bn.

It added that Apax is financing the swoop via a £450m private credit loan.

Bain Capital acquired the business in 2017 and added benefits administration software through the 2018 acquisition of Benefex.

Zellis was formerly known as NGA Human Resources UK & Ireland.

The Benefex business helps over 900 companies across more than 90 countries transform and align the experiences of more than two million employees globally through their modern benefits, wellbeing, rewards and recognition and communications platform.

Zellis has operations in the UK, Ireland, India and the Philippines.

Learn from the best: 6 pieces of advice from leading tech CEOs

“We are proud of the market leading position that Zellis Group has built over recent years, a testament to the work and innovation of our team, with the strong support of Bain Capital,” said CEO John Petter. 

“Today’s announcement reaffirms that position and will allow us to increase our investments and expansion in the areas that are most important to our customers. We’re excited to partner with Apax as we begin a new chapter to fulfil our mission to help our customers offer exceptional employee experiences to their people.”

Adam Garson, principal at Apax, added: “We have been impressed with the business that John and his team have built over the last several years. Zellis has a strong set of products and long-standing customer relationships that underscore its attractive market position across its business units. 

“We look forward to partnering with John and the rest of the Zellis management team to help accelerate growth through both organic investments and M&A going forward.”

James Stevens, a managing director at Bain Capital, said: “We are thrilled to have seen Zellis deliver around 20% organic growth over the past three years and look forward to seeing continued success.”

Dragons’ Den star reveals how garden camping trip saved him