Please find below this week’s newsletter covering the latest M&A, company performance, fundraisings and executive moves.
Deal Details: Poppulo and Four Winds Interactive (“Four Winds” or “FWI”) have reached a definitive agreement to join, forming a global employee communications leader. The merger is backed by Vista Equity Partners.
The transaction is expected to close Q2 2021. Terms of the deal will not be disclosed.
Founded in 2005 and based in Denver, Colorado, FWI is the leading enterprise software company for digital signage, interactive kiosk, and mobile applications used to digitally transform customer and employee experiences.
Cork-based Poppulo is the complete one-stop solution for engaging employee communications. Customers include a third of Europe’s largest employers and a fifth of those in the US. Every day, communications to over 25m employees are distributed through Poppulo.
Vista Equity Partners is a leading global investment firm with more than $73bn in assets under management as of September 2020. The firm exclusively invests in enterprise software, data and technology-enabled organisations.
Through this merger, the combined business will serve 6,000+ customers, the market’s most comprehensive omni-channel employee communications platform.
Advisers: Spurrier Capital Partners served as financial advisor, Kirkland & Ellis LLP and McCann FitzGerald provided legal advice to FWI. Gary McSharry led the McCann FitzGerald team with support from Rachel O’Neill and a number of specialists across the firm.
For Poppulo, Shea & Company served as financial advisor and Ronan Daly Jermyn, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, served as legal counsel.
Renatus Comment: Cork-based Poppulo, led by CEO Andrew O’Shaughnessy, is an international success story with 90% of its revenue being generated outside Ireland. It services some the world’s largest employers. Poppulo has been on a strong growth trajectory in recent years, growing its turnover by over 50% in the last two years from c. €9.6m in FY17 to €14.7m in FY19. It also added a little over 50 employees during that period.
O’Shaughnessy was the largest individual shareholder in the business prior to the transaction. The company had over 20 shareholders prior to the transaction and was previously backed by Susquehanna Growth Equity as part of a reported $35m fundraise in January 2019.
Source: Poppulo Press Release
Deal Details: DCC Healthcare has agreed to acquire Wörner Medizinprodukte Holding GmbH (“Wörner”) based on an initial enterprise value of approximately €80m.
The acquisition is subject to competition authority approval in Germany and Austria. It is expected to complete in April 2021.
Wörner is a leading supplier of medical and laboratory products to the primary care sector in Germany and Switzerland. The business recorded revenue of c. €70m in 2020 and employs 158 people.
Wörner will join the DCC Vital group, a leader in the sales, marketing and distribution of medical products to the hospital, community and primary care sectors in Britain and Ireland.
DCC is a leading international sales, marketing and support services group with a clear focus on performance and growth. It operates through four divisions: LPG, Retail & Oil, Technology and Healthcare.
Advisers: None mentioned.
Renatus Comment: DCC is a frequent feature in our newsletter having completed over 280 acquisitions since its floatation in 1994 and spending a total of c. £3.3bn on these.
M&A has been a crucial part of DCC’s strategy over the years. It has helped the Group to extend its geographic footprint and scale into adjacent markets within each of its four operating division.
The strategy has clearly paid off, with operating profit growing at a 26-year CAGR of 14.5% and total shareholder returns delivered of 5,238% over the same period.
Source: DCC Press Release
Dublin-based Perigord provides packaging artwork services and software solutions for the life sciences industry.
As part of the deal, Perigord is to take over the company’s design and packaging centre in Hyderabad.
Tech Mahindra is a provider of digital transformation, consulting and business re-engineering services.
Advisers: Michael Hussey, Fergal Meegan and Richard Dennehy of Davy Corporate Finance acted as financial adviser to the sellers.
Crowley Millar (legal), Sherlock Law (legal) and Smith & Williamson (Tax) also acted for Perigord.
A Maples Group team led by William Darmody and Deirdre McCarthy acted for Tech Mahindra on the legals.
Renatus Comment: Perigord reported revenues of €19.5m in FY20 up from €16.8m a year earlier. The business is led by Directors and Shareholders Paul and Alan Leamy. In 2016, BDO Development Capital made a €2.4m investment in the company and provided a further €3m investment in 2017. Enterprise Ireland also provided €425k in R&D grants.
Deal Details: Aston Lark, the Goldman Sachs-backed chartered insurance broker, announced the acquisition of North County Brokers.
Established in 1999 and based in Balbriggan in County Dublin, North County Brokers offers independent advice to businesses across a broad range of insurance and risk management services and has specialist expertise in technology and communications, manufacturing, import and distribution, and motor trade.
The company will initially be brought into the Aston Lark Group under Robertson Low. However, this is a temporary move until Robertson Low and Wright Insurance Brokers rebrand as Aston Lark Ireland next month.
Aston Lark was formed in 2018 when two of the UK’s largest independent insurance brokers came together: Aston Scott Group and Lark Group. It employs 1000+ staff in over 45 regional locations across the UK and Ireland.
Advisers: The sellers were advised by Bryan Sweeney (Corporate Partner) of J R Sweeney LLP. The buyers were advised by Eversheds-Sutherland led by James Finney in Birmingham & Gavin O’Flaherty in Dublin.
Renatus Comment: This deal follows a string of acquisitions that have occurred in the local insurance broker sector over the past couple of years. A historically fragmented sector is now headed toward a more consolidated position as numerous operators a pursuing acquisitive growth strategies.
Aston Lark has been an active player in this market having previously acquired Robertson Low and Wright Insurance Brokers in 2019. Pre-trasnsaction, North County Brokers was owned equally by John and Susan Horan. It generated turnover of c. €900k in FY19 and an operating profit of c. €43k.
Source: Source: Aston Lark Group Release/LinkedIn
Deal Details: Irish insurance broker Arachas has acquired fintech company Orange Bear for an undisclosed sum.
Arachas was established 15 years ago through the merger of Cork-based broker Tyrrell Coakley with two Dublin-based peers, Hodgins Percival and Slattery Jermyn. It is Ireland’s largest nationwide broker and was acquired by UK peer Ardonagh Group last summer.
Fintech Orange Bear was set up by Zurich alumni Kevin McCarthy in 2017. It developed a platform for a simple consumer experience online when dealing with their insurance needs.
It is expected the technology will be rolled out across the wider Ardonagh Group, which is home to a number of well-known UK brokerages, including Bishopsgate, Towergate and Carole Nash, and led by Westmeath native David Ross.
Advisers: LK Shields Solicitors LLP team led by Emmet Scully supported by Emma Creaven, Ruairi Mulrean, Jeanne Kelly, Gillian Dully, Jane O’Grady and Sinead Byrne acted for Arachas.
Renatus Comment: Arachas is another active player in the insurance broker space, having made a number of acquisitions over the years. It’s most recent was the acquisition of MCM in January of this year.
Latest accounts for the company are for the period ending December 2019 and show that revenue grew by €12.5m during the period to €36.6m and operating profit grew €6.6m to €12.6m
Source: Irish Times
Deal Details: Banach Technology, an Irish gambling software company, has been acquired by Australian online bookmaker PointsBet for a reported $43m (€36.15m) on a cash and debt-free basis, with 55% of this to be paid in cash and the remainder in shares. The deal is being done via its Dublin-based subsidiary, Lockspell.
Dublin-based Banach was founded by Rob Reck, Mark Hughes, Alex Zevenbergen and Hadrien Lepretre, who previously established the Quants department at Paddy Power.
They were joined on the journey by former commercial PaddyPower colleague Donal Barron along with chairman Ciaran O’Brien.
Banach raised a reported €2.2m in funding in 2018. Banach has quite an extensive shareholding register that includes many ex-Paddy Power colleagues such as founders David Power and Stewart Kenny as well as former CEO Patrick Kennedy and former CFO Cormac McCarthy
PointsBet is Australia’s fastest growing online bookmaker offering all traditional fixed odds markets (Sports & Racing) and Spread Betting – where winnings or losses aren’t fixed, but depend on how correct the bet is.
Advisers: None mentioned.
Renatus Comment: PointsBet is expecting the in-play betting market in the US to grow rapidly over the next three years and Banach solutions and expertise in this segment will help it to become a leader in the space. US sports are well-suited to in-play betting with their regular breaks and in-play customers are more valuable to the betting operators (higher engagement and better retention).
We reported on SportCaller’s exit a few weeks back. Both of these and more will really benefit from this US deregulation. Flutter’s share price is enjoying this rising tide also. As is Dermot Smurfit junior’s Gan plc.
Source: PointsBet press release
Deal Details: Keywords Studios has announced the acquisition of an 85% interest in high quality game developer Tantalus in a deal reportedly worth up to $46.8m (€39.35m).
Dublin-based Keywords Studios is an international technical and creative services provider to the global video games industry. Established in 1998, and headquartered in Dublin, Keywords now has over 50 studios located across Europe, North America, South America and Asia.
Tantalus, based in Melbourne, Australia and founded in 1994, is a leading and prolific developer of high quality, multi-platform titles. Led by Tom Crago, the studio has worked on close to 100 games on every major platform since the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
Crago will work with Keywords Studios to drive its expansion in the region, both organically and through a healthy pipeline of acquisition opportunities.
Advisers: None mentioned.
Renatus Comment: Keywords is another regular of our newsletter. We have written about the company and its use of a programmatic M&A strategy to grow over a dozen times in the last three years.
Latest estimates are that the world’s 2.7 billion gamers spent an estimated $159.3bn in 2020. The market is expected to grow to over $200bn by 2023 driven by demographic shifts and changing consumer demands.
Many developers and publishers in the space have significant risks/volatility associated with single-game / single-franchise risks. As a service provider into the space, Keywords is arguably better positioned to capitalise on the expected growth as it already works with 23 of the top 25 gaming companies and can offer any outsourced service in multiple geographies.
Source: Keywords Studios
Deal Details: Green Rebel Marine has acquired a majority stake in IDS-Monitoring through a €7m investment.
Cork-based offshore windfarm management company Green Rebel Marine was founded by Pearse Flynn last year.
IDS-Monitoring, founded in 1996 in Limerick, designs, manufactures and supports data systems that monitor offshore conditions and their technology has been deployed for use on hundreds of data buoys in over 30 countries.
Green Rebel Marine has been expanding its operations in recent months, acquiring Crosshaven Boatyard in Co Cork and a survey vessel, and purchasing a DA42 multi-purpose survey aircraft stationed at Cork Airport.
Advisers: None mentioned.
Renatus Comment: Green Rebel Marine is utilising strategic acquisitions to build the capabilities to meet any surveying requirements need for power generation equipment offshore.
IDS-Monitoring was owned by John Wallace (75%) Paul Horan (12.5%) and Andrew Lambe (12.5%).
Source: Irish Examiner
Deal Details: HomeSecure, an Irish alarm monitoring company, has been sold to Norwegian group Sector Alarms for a reported consideration of €25m.
Homesecure was founded in 2014 by Colm Daly and the company has just under 20,000 customers. It employs 45 staff full time and offers 24/7 monitored security in the Irish residential market. It’s reported that Daly will leave the company as part of the deal. HomeSecure had revenues of €4.9m in FY19.
Pre-transaction, HomeSecure had a wide shareholder base. Simon Murphy, HomeSecure’s non-executive chairman, is reported to have held a majority stake in the business. Colm Daly and HomeSecure’s CFO Darren Byrne are both shareholders. Other backers include serial entrepreneur Andrew Collins, former Ryanair executive Michael Cawley, Virgin Media chief executive Tony Hanway and Niall Anderton, an executive with Circle K.
Based in Oslo, Sector Alarms has more than 550,000 customers across Europe, with businesses in France, Finland, Spain and Sweden as well as its home market and Ireland. According to its website, its revenues exceed €240 million and the company employs more than 2,000 staff.
Advisers: None mentioned.
Renatus Comment: The B2C home security market is quite fragmented with the Sector Alarms-owned PhoneWatch being the clear leader in the space in terms of size. PhoneWatch reported revenue of c. €46.7m in FY19 and an EBITDA of c. €18.7m.
Source: Irish Times
EBITDA is an accounting term and is often the best indicator of profitability in non-capital intensive businesses before financing and tax are considered. In capital-intensive
Castle Ceilings and Partitions Limited, which trades as Castle Group, is a fitter of timer ceilings, partitions and ancilliary services based out of Galway.
FY19 was a strong year for the business. Revenue grew by c. 68% to €31.8m while EBITDA grew by c. 121% to €2.4m. The cash balance increased by c. €1.85m with the largest drain on cash being a c. €890k investment into working capital and c. €360k in capital expenditure.
Castle Group is ultimately owned equally by Seamus and Kathy Brady. The Group employed 136 staff during FY19 at an annual cost of c. €7.3m.
Based in Naas, Kildare Delaney Commercials is a truck dealership involved in the sale, hire and repair of trucks. The company acquired in the main dealer franchise for Scania in 1976.
In its financial year to December ’19, the business reported revenue of c. €22.0m, up c. 7% year-on-year as well as EBITDA of c. €2.4m, up c. 12% year-on-year. Cash increased slightly by c. €28k during the period to end at an overdrawn position of c. €650k. Cash generated from operating activities was used predominantly to repay finance leases (€2.3m) and pay out a dividend (€377k).
The Group employed 45 staff during the period at a cost of c. €1.68m. Delaney Commercials is 100% owned by John Delaney.
Who: Offbeat Donuts, an Irish Donut company founded by Brian and Sandra O’Casey in their family home in 2016. The company has 10 stores in Dublin.
What: Offbeat has received an undisclosed investment amount from Biavest, an Irish food industry investment firm led by Hilliard Lombard and David McKernan.
Advisers: Brian McDonald and Rory Butler of Bay Advisory and Alan Ryan of Wallace Corporate Counsel advised BiaVest.
Why: The investment will be used to help finance expansion including opening shops outside of Dublin. The business also intends to expand internationally into the UK, US and Middle East.
Source: Irish Times
Who: Luna, an Irish e-scooter start-up that uses computer vision and AI to improve e-scooter safety. The company was founded by Andrew Fleury, Ronan Furlong and Phil Corrie.
What: The company has raised a reported €400k in funding from Brian O’Driscoll and two business partners. O’Driscoll will be seeking a seat on the board as part of the investment.
Why: Funds will be used to help Luna accelerate its growth. The company is in discussions on a number of projected in Dublin, New York, Los Angeles, London, Rome and Brussels among other locations.
Source: Sunday Independent
Who: TerminusDB has raised seed funding. Founded in 2019 by Kevin Feeney and Gavin Mendel-Gleason, the Trinity College spinout has developed an open-source collaboration platform for large and complex data.
What: €3.6m round was led by Belgian VC Volta Ventures with participation by Seattle-based Acequia Capital, which is led by a number of former Microsoft senior executives. Existing investors Atlantic Bridge University Bridge Fund and Enterprise Ireland also participated.
Why: TerminusDB will use the funding to accelerate the development of the technology. The company intends to double employee numbers to more than 20 people.
Source: Irish Times
Who: Stripe has raised new round of funding.
What: The company raised a $600m (€500m) funding round at a $95bn (€80bn) valuation. Primary investors include Allianz X, Axa, Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Sequoia Capital, and the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).
Why: The capital will be used to invest in its European operations, and its Dublin headquarters in particular, support surging demand from enterprise heavyweights across Europe, and expand its Global Payments and Treasury Network.
Source: Stripe Press Release
Who: Gradguide, a Dublin-based online career, mentorship and recruitment platform that pairs mentors with students and recent college graduates to help them successfully transition from college into the tech workforce. The company was founded by Mark Hughes, Ian Guerin, Matthew Brennan and David Martin in 2019.
What: Clune Technology Group, formerly known as Taxback Group, has made a reported €2m investment into the company.
Why: Following the investment, the Gradguide will now focus its efforts on scaling operations both in Ireland and abroad.
We in Renatus believe that more important than the deals are the people and we have teamed up with leaders in this field Korn Ferry to provide you with details of key recent executive and board level appointments.
Grant Thornton released a report which is quoted in the Sunday independent today which aligns to what our thought for the week suggests that M&A activity is in for a busy time.
31% of respondents believe this pandemic will create M&A opportunities compared to 9% who thought it will restrict transactions.
Paddy Dillon, Head of Corporate Finance in Grant Thornton, says that activity in his department aligns to this where they are very busy and everybody we talk to in investment/advisory is the same.
Our weekly newsletter covering M&A deals has never been as busy as it has in recent weeks. Anecdotally, we think covid has also brought people certainty in thinking and people are more willing to close chapters and sell shares. That is driving the supply side and clearly on the demand side there has never been as much dry powder out there.
The year-on-year increase in the national average farmland price for 2020 amounting to €10,316 an acre, the highest average land price figure recorded since the financial crash of 2008, according to RTE. @farmersjournal
12% & 20%
The year-on-year decrease in the value of Irish trade exports and imports, respectively, for January 2021, according to @CSOIreland
65% & 14%
The year-on-year decrease in the imports from the UK and exports to UK, respectively, for January 2021, according to @CSOIreland
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