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SoftwareONE reveals plans for IPO

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SoftwareONE is gearing up for an IPO, slated for the fourth quarter of 2019.

On Monday the Bonn-based Microsoft partner announced plans to float on the SIX Swiss Exchange in Zurich.

The news comes less than a year after the global giant acquired Germany-based competitor Comparex to create an entity that manages €10bn in customer software assets.

SoftwareONE claims an IPO is a “natural next step” for the company, and will increase its visibility and global profile. The IPO will consist entirely of secondary shares from founding shareholders, KKR, Comparex investor Peruni and management, with founding shareholders expected to maintain the largest stake.

Private equity firm KKR, which acquired a 25 per cent stake in SoftwareONE in 2015, will retain a “significant” stake in the firm following the IPO.

Media sources in Switzerland claim that the planned IPO is primarily driven by KKR wanting to cash in on its four-year investment. Reuters claims that SoftwareONE will be valued at “several billion” Swiss francs.

Founding shareholders Daniel von Stockar, René Gilli and Beat Curti currently own around 38 per cent of SoftwareONE shares. KKR now holds 21 per cent, Peruni 15 per cent, and management and employees holding a 10 per cent stake. Some 16 per cent of its shares are held by other shareholders.

The software licensing partner claims that, combined with Comparex, it delivered CHF 187m (€172m) in pro forma adjusted EBITDA in 2018. Gross profits increased by 29 per cent on a CAGR basis between 2008 and 2018.

Its EBITDA has grown by a CAGR of 55 per cent between 2016 and 2018, SoftwareONE claims.

SoftwareONE CEO Dieter Schlosser said he’s confident that it can achieve double-digit gross profit growth following its IPO and an adjusted EBITDA margin of 35 per cent over “the mid-term”.

SoftwareONE CEO Dieter Schlosser said: “As cloud adoption and digital transformation have progressed, we have evolved to become a leading integrated software and cloud solutions provider, empowering thousands of companies to transform. I am very confident that we can continue to capitalise on the business opportunities our attractive and growing markets provide.”

Its merger with Comparex completed in January 2019, with the brand disappearing under SoftwareONE’s banner later this year.

Its competitors, including Norway-based Microsoft partner Crayon, are expecting to benefit from a drawn-out integration period between SoftwareONE and Comparex. Crayon CEO Rune Syversen described it as “one of the biggest opportunities we’ve seen over the last five years.”

Combined with Comparex, SoftwareONE has 5,300 staff, with sales and service delivery capabilities in 90 countries globally. It claims to cater for roughly 65,000 customers offering software from more than 7,500 publishers.