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29/11/2022

Visma, the Norwegian group that “devours” start-ups

Visma

71. That is the number of start-ups that the Norwegian company Visma has acquired in two years. Who is behind this management software giant that has just acquired a French company? Experts from AURIS Finance, a merger and acquisition consultancy, give you their analysis.

Discreet but powerful. Visma is now one of the most active companies in Europe in terms of start-up acquisitions. According to data from the Dealroom platform analysed by media company Sifted, Visma is the third largest intra-European dealmaker in 2022. In 2021 alone, the group made 41 acquisitions, followed by around 30 new acquisitions in 2022. Visma focuses on start-ups and more traditional companies, mainly in the software and fintech sectors. Recent acquisitions include Dutch education software specialist Datapas and Flex Application, a human resources software solution.

A foray into French territory

In France, the group has just acquired Inqom, formerly ‘Fred de la Compta’, for an undisclosed sum. Although the acquisition is currently ‘75% effective’, the transaction is expected to be completed by 2025, according to French daily Les Echos. Launched in 2016, Inqom was founded on the promise of automating the most repetitive tasks in accounting. The platform can automatically generate accounting entries from the collection of various flows (invoices and expense reports). The young company quickly attracted investors and raised several rounds of funding. In early 2022, Inqom entered into a strategic partnership with Libeo, a specialist in business-to-business payments.

An offensive strategy

This first acquisition could be followed by others on the French market. According to the daily Les Echos, Inqom’s founders are now “assisting the company in France in the M&A process to identify other promising companies, particularly in the area of accounting management and payroll software”. Several talks are currently underway. Visma intends to expand throughout continental Europe thanks to its software and cloud solutions that reduce low value-added accounting tasks.

A shift in scale

Founded in 1996, Visma began to transform in 2001. At that time, the group made its first acquisitions, taking over a dozen Nordic companies. In one year, the number of employees increased from 180 to 1,570. Visma continued to grow and gained new strength in 2010 with the arrival of the KKR fund, which became the majority shareholder. In 2020, the management software specialist became the property of London-based private equity fund HG Capital. Since then, Visma has multiplied its acquisitions and equipped itself with the means to achieve its European ambitions. Thanks to its strategy of expansion through inorganic growth, the group is now present in around twenty countries. With 13,500 employees, it serves around 1.4 million customers and generates a turnover of more than €2 billion.

Get the support you need

In the coming months, French publishers of management software and specialists in dematerialised accounting could become the target of the Norwegian giant. In an uncertain macroeconomic context, more and more managers of innovative companies are considering selling their businesses. Sector specialists at Auris Finance are able to assist you from the first contact with a potential buyer to the closing of the deal.

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#Technology, Media & Telecommunications