Civica, the British public sector-focused software and services provider, has been acquired by Swiss investment fund Partners Group for £1bn following an auction of the business by its private equity owner.
Other bidders in the auction, according to Sky News, were Japanese electronics company NEC, which was rumoured to be interested in paying between $1.2bn and $1.5bn (£920m-£1.15bn), as well as private equity firms BC Partners, Berkshire Partners and Partners Group.
Civica has been passed from pillar to post since it was offloaded by Sanderson in 2004 in a £79m public share offering. However, that hasn't prevented the company from prospering.
In 2008, private equiteer 3i took Civica private in a £190m deal at a time when Civica could boast revenues of £127m. Five years later, revenues had grown to £183m and 3i passed it on to OMERS Private Equity, the private equity arm of the pension fund of Ontario state in Canada, for £390m.
A sale of Civica by OMERS had been mooted since May, although OMERS reportedly started the auction back in November 2016. Last year, Civica achieved revenues of £268m and an EBITDA of £55m.
Civica CEO Wayne Story said that it would be "an enhanced version of business as usual" under Partners, and that the company would continue to be led by the same management team.
The sale to Partners Group comes just days after Civica was engaged in a spot of M&A of its own, purchasing Carval Computing, an integrated human resources and payroll systems provider, largely to the small and medium-sized business (SMB) sector.
It claims around 300 installations ranging from organisations with less than 100 employees to those with more than 10,000. Customers include Middlesbrough Council, Staffordshire Housing Association, multi-academy trust E-ACT, the Royal Mint and National Express. New customers during 2017 include CGS Trust, Chelsea Academy and Essex Fire & Rescue Service.
Carval's flexible HR systems include cloud-based solutions, employee self-service technology and mobile apps. Civica described the acquisition as complementary to its own current software line-up.
Civica CEO Story said of the acquisition: "I am delighted to welcome Carval to the Group. The team brings a strong capability with a product set that is very well placed to respond to evolving customer needs."
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