Marketing specialist QBase is planning to expand following a management buyout.

Founders Ian and Anita Johnstone have sold a 77.8 per cent majority ownership of the Warrington company to chief executive Rob Jones, operations director Tracey Barker, technical solutions director Nick Kelly and consulting director Paresh Patel.

Ian and Anita Johnstone will retain a minority shareholding and seats on the company’s board.

“The data services market is growing rapidly as companies realise its potential and value as a business asset and Qbase is in a strong position to take advantage of the opportunities the market currently provides,” said Jones.

“The aim of the management team, and all of Qbase’s staff, is to continue to grow on our current trajectory by building stronger and broader partnerships with data technology providers to deliver services across broad markets, including manufacturing and retail.”

Anita Johnstone said: “The management team at Qbase has helped to develop the company into the high-growth business it is today.

“Collectively, all four have worked for the business for nearly 60 years and we’re confident that we leave Qbase in strong hands, poised for future growth.

“We’re retaining a minority stake as testament to the trust we have in the team to continue to develop the company.”

The new owners aim to grow the business by 20 per cent annually with a £10m target turnover by 2025.

Qbase’s customers include HSBC, Arriva, Trust Ford (Retail), Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity, WWF and Everton Football Club.

It supplies data services such as data management and migration, data quality and governance, business analysis and insights and marketing automation.