Acolad Buys AMPLEXOR, Becomes Continental Europe’s Largest LSP

Acolad收购Amplexor, 成为欧洲大陆最大语言服务提供商

2020-09-21 20:20 slator


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Paris-based language service provider Acolad Group is set to acquire Luxembourg-based rival AMPLEXOR International in a transaction will close in the fourth quarter of 2020. The transaction will be financed through equity and debt. Acolad will not acquire all of AMPLEXOR, however. The deal excludes some business segments of AMPLEXOR that generated EUR 35m in revenues in 2019 and are “not in line with Acolad’s activity”, a company spokesperson told Slator. Acolad will own 100% of the remaining, language services-focused AMPLEXOR business. Terms of the deal, such as price, etc., were not disclosed. In a press release, Acolad Group President Benjamin du Fraysseix, said that “AMPLEXOR is a major player on the market. When we started learning more about the group, we identified so many complementarities that this deal quickly became a no-brainer for us.” AMPLEXOR’s current CEO Mark Evenepoel called the deal an “important and exciting milestone” and said the new group would expand its “position as a major force in the content and language services industry worldwide.” Selling AMPLEXOR is German newspaper Saarbrücker Zeitung, which, in turn, is majority owned by German media conglomerate Rheinische Post Mediengruppe. After buying out private equity fund Naxicap in September 2019, du Fraysseix and his family now own 65% of Acolad, with the remaining stake held by private equity backers Qualium and UI Gestion. As previously reported, Acolad was founded as Technicis in 1995 and rebranded to Acolad in early 2019. (AMPLEXOR rebranded from Euroscript in 2015). After taking the reins in 2012, Acolad President du Fraysseix set out for an aggressive buy-and-build M&A strategy acquiring a series of European LSPs, hitting EUR 150m in pro-forma 2019 revenues after buying Dutch-based Livewords in mid 2019. Buying AMPLEXOR marks a step change in terms of deal size for du Fraysseix. The company generated revenues of EUR 120m in 2019 (excluding the aforementioned excluded segments), which is three times larger than Acolad’s Livewords deal. Pro-forma, the combined group therefore generated EUR 270m (USD 320m) in 2019, which moves it past Welocalize into seventh position among the world’s largest language service providers and into Super Agency category. In an interview with Slator, du Fraysseix declined to provide guidance for estimated 2020 revenues of the combined organization. The new group will employ over 2,000 full-time staff. The combined company’s size is also the reason why the deal has not technically closed, as it still needs the greenlight from antitrust authorities. But given the language industry’s continued fragmentation despite years of M&A, antitrust clearance should be a formality. A combination of Acolad and AMPLEXOR does create Continental Europe’s largest language service provider with deep roots and client relationships across France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. Adding to that is AMPLEXOR’s sizable presence in the US (which it acquired in the 2017 Sajan deal) and China. In terms of sectors, the combined company has a strong presence in life sciences and manufacturing (techdoc) as well as the public sector (AMPLEXOR remains a major vendor to EU institutions). But beyond that, too, the new Acolad is competing in dozens of markets and verticals and has a very diversified client base. The Acolad-AMPLEXOR deal follows only weeks after RWS announced it was going to acquire SDL in a billion-dollar deal. Asked about his thoughts on RWS-SDL, du Fraysseix said, “It makes sense, for the same reasons — we feel our deal is quite similar to this deal, even though smaller in size.” What’s clear is that the two transactions mark a major consolidation of Europe’s language industry. While there are still hundreds of LSPs competing in the UK and the EU, none match the two new groups in size and offering on the continent. Asked about the strategic rationale behind the deal, du Fraysseix explained that the transaction will give the combined company the critical size to compete globally, the two companies complement each other well in terms of geography, sectors, and technology, and that he sees a “great common digital DNA in both organizations.” Despite competing in similar markets, Acolad and AMPLEXOR have minimal client overlap, according to du Fraysseix. Du Fraysseix told Slator he has no intention to combine the two companies under a unified brand, for now, “since AMPLEXOR is a strong and well-established brand.” In terms of leadership, he said the setting up of a global HR organization is in the works and executives of both Acolad and AMPLEXOR will occupy positions on the new Executive Team. One of the more important challenges of growing via acquisition in the language industry is that each acquired LSP brings their own set of proprietary and third-party translation productivity (CAT) and management (TMS) technologies. As the most acquisitive LSP of the past half-decade, this challenge should be particularly pronounced for Acolad. Du Fraysseix said that they are “currently in the process of streamlining the global integrated approach to ERP / Tools / Portals / process for our first nine acquisitions. We will take the best-of-breed approach in terms of tech from both Acolad and AMPLEXOR.” “[The AMPLEXOR sales process] was initiated before Covid and we decided to convert this into an exclusivity exchange post Covid,” du Fraysseix said when asked about how long the deal took to close. The pandemic had no impact on the transaction’s progress, du Fraysseix added. Covid did take a toll on Acolad’s business, according to du Fraysseix, as their “European footprint and several specific sectors made us suffer a bit during lockdown.” But the business has recovered well since, he continued. “AMPLEXOR has resisted very well throughout the whole crisis, thanks to life science, public sector, and US focus,” du Fraysseix said. On Acolad’s side, key parties to the deal were Group President Benjamin du Fraysseix and Acolad CEO Olivier Marcheteau. Legal Counsel was Mayer Brown. Financial, legal, tax, and social due diligence were carried out by KPMG. Technology due diligence was run by Intuitus; commercial due diligence, by Eleven Strategy. On AMPLEXOR’s side, legal as well as financial and tax advisory was provided by Deloitte. US investment bank William Blair (adviser on the Lionbridge-CLS transaction in 2015 and speaker at SlatorCon London) was AMPLEXOR’s M&A adviser. Asked if Acolad currently has additional acquisitions in the pipeline, du Fraysseix replied, “No, AMPLEXOR was very intense.” As for an eventual exit, du Fraysseix said his focus remains on buy and build. Going public in an IPO was not part of the planning, the Acolad owner emphasized.
语言服务提供商Acolad集团(总部巴黎)将收购竞争对手Amplexor(总部卢森堡),本次交易将于2020年第四季度完成,并通过股权和债务融资。 但是,Acolad不会收购Amplexor的全部股份。公司发言人向Slator透露,Amplexor有些业务部门不在交易内,这些业务部门在2019年创收3500万欧元,而把它们排除在外的原因是这些部门“与Acolad的活动不一致”。交易完成后,Acolad将拥有Amplexor其余专注于语言服务的业务部门100%的股权。至于交易的条款内容,如价格等,Acolad则没有透露。 Acolad集团总裁Benjamin du Fraysseix在一份新闻稿中说:“Amplexor是语言服务市场的主要参与者。我们刚开始了解该集团时,就发现两集团非常互补,所以我们很快并且很容易就确定了这次交易。”Amplexor现任首席执行官Mark Evenepoel称这笔交易是一个“至关重要,激动人心的里程碑”,并表示新集团在语言服务业的重要性会大大提升,成为全球内容和语言服务行业的中坚力量。 出售Amplexor的是德国《萨尔布吕克尔报》,而后者多数股权由德国的莱茵邮报媒体集团持有。2019年9月,Fraysseix及其家族买断私募股权基金Naxicap。当前,Acolad 65%的股份由他们持有,剩余股份则由私募股权投资方Qualium和UI Gestion持有。 据先前报道,Acolad成立于1995年,定名为Technicis,并于2019年初更名为Acolad。Amplexor是在2015年由Euroscript更名而来。2012年Acolad总裁Fraysseix执掌大权后采取了激进的并购战略,收购了一系列欧洲语言服务提供商。2019年年中Acolad 收购Livewords(总部荷兰),当年营收达到1.5亿欧元。 收购Amplexor标志着Fraysseix的交易规模发生重大变化。2019年,该公司(不包括上文提到排除在外的部门)创造了1.2亿欧元的收益,是Acolad与Livewords交易产生收益的三倍。 从数据上看,2019年,合并后集团因此产生了2.7亿欧元(合3.2亿美元)的收益,超越Welocalize成为全球排名第七的语言服务提供商,达到了超级中介水平。 在接受Slator采访时,Fraysseix拒绝透露合并后公司2020年的预计收益。同时新集团将雇用2000多名全职员工。 合并后的公司规模也是该交易技术上尚未达成的原因,因为它仍需要反垄断当局的绿灯。但是,鉴于语言行业经历多年的并购仍在继续分裂,反垄断审查应该只是一种形式。 Acolad和Amplexor的结合确实创造了欧洲大陆最大的语言服务提供商,其在法国,卢森堡,荷兰,德国,意大利和瑞士都拥有深厚的根基和客户关系。此外,Amplexor在美国(2017年,Amplexor收购Sajan)和中国的业务也具有相当规模。 从部门上看,合并后的公司在生命科学和制造业(techdoc)以及公共部门都有很强的影响力,Amplexor仍然是欧盟机构的主要供应商。除此之外,新的Acolad在数十个市场和垂直领域拥有非常多样化的客户群,也具备竞争力。 RWS宣布将以10亿美元收购SDL后仅数周,Acolad收购Amplexor的交易就达成了。当被问及对RWS收购SDL的看法时,du Fraysseix说,“这是一个明智的决定,我们觉得我们的交易与这次交易原理是一样的,只是规模较小。” 显而易见,这两笔交易标志着欧洲语言行业的一次重大整合。尽管在英国和欧盟仍有数百家语言服务提供商参与竞争,但在规模和在欧洲大陆的发行量上,没有一家能与这两家新集团匹敌。 当被问及这笔交易背后的战略基础时,Fraysseix解释说,这笔交易将令合并后的公司在全球竞争占据重要席位,两家公司在地理,行业和技术方面优势互补,而且他认为“两家公司都有很大的共同数字DNA”。Fraysseix还表示,尽管竞争市场相似,Acolad和Amplexor的客户重叠却极少。 Fraysseix对Slator表示,目前他无意将两家公司合并为一个统一的品牌,“因为Amplexor是一个强大而稳固的品牌。”在领导层方面,他表示,正在着手建立一个全球人力资源组织,Acolad和Amplexor的高管纳入新的高管团队。 在语言行业中,通过收购实现增长还有更重要的挑战,其中之一就是每一个被收购的语言服务提供商都带来了他们自己的以及第三方的翻译生产力(CAT)和管理(TMS)技术。 Acolad是过去五年中收购欲望最强的语言服务提供商,因此这一挑战对于Acolad来说尤其突出。Fraysseix说,目前他们正在为头9笔收购精简全球整合的ERP/工具/门户/流程并将采用Acolad公司和Amplexor公司的最佳技术方案。 当被问及这笔交易需要多长时间才能完成时,杜弗雷塞克表示,“Amplexor的销售过程是在疫情之前启动的,我们决定在疫情之后将其转换为独家交易,”他还补充说,疫情不会影响交易进展。 du Fraysseix表示,新冠疫情确实对Acolad的业务造成了损害,因为它们“在欧洲和几个特定领域的出现让集团在封锁期间受到了一些影响”,但之后业务恢复良好。Fraysseix说:“由于生命科学的发展,公共部门参与以及美国的关注,Amplexor很好地抵抗住了危机。” Acolad方面,交易的主要参与方是集团总裁Benjamin du Fraysseix和Acolad首席执行官Olivier Marcheteau。法律顾问是Mayer Brown。毕马威(KPMG)进行财务,法律,税务和社会尽职调查。技术尽职调查由Intuitus负责;商业尽职调查,由十一战略(Eleven Strategy)负责。 Amplexor方面法律以及财务和税务咨询由德勤会计事务所提供,美国投行威廉·布莱尔(2015年Lionbridge-CLS交易顾问,伦敦SlatorCon发言人)担任并购顾问。 当被问及Acolad目前是否有其它收购计划时,du Fraysseix回应说:“没有,我们对此是非常谨慎的。”至于最终退出,du Fraysseix表示,他目前主要关注的仍然是收购重组。Acolad的所有者强调,通过IPO上市并不在当前计划之中。