Warburg, TPG Invest in $12 Billion Norwegian Software Firm Visma


Photographer: DIRK WAEM/AFP

Warburg Pincus and TPG agreed to invest in Norwegian software developer Visma, valuing the company at 110 billion krone ($12.2 billion) including debt in one of the European technology industry’s biggest deals this year.

The U.S. private equity firms will acquire minority stakes in Visma, according to a press release Friday. Visma’s biggest shareholder, European buyout firm Hg, is reinvesting in the business and will put up most of the new capital, it said in the statement.

Visma’s deal shows how transactions are still getting done in the technology industry even as Covid-19 hobbles mergers and acquisitions in other sectors. The company’s backers have been considering a stake sale since last year, only to see the plans put on hold during the pandemic. Visma owners revived the sale in recent weeks, targeting a select group of potential investors, Bloomberg News reported this month.

European companies have announced $54 billion of technology deals since the start of June, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Food-delivery service Just Eat Takeaway.com NV agreed in June to acquire Grubhub Inc. in the U.S., while Norwegian digital marketplace owner Adevinta ASA won the bidding in July for EBay Inc.’s classifieds business.

Rising Sales

Visma’s business has remained steady during the pandemic, with revenue rising 27% in the second quarter to 4.7 billion Norwegian krone, according to its website. Net income more than doubled to 298 million krone. The group offers cloud software that small businesses can use for enterprise resource planning and accounting, as well as other online products for electronic invoicing, procurement and debt collection.

Hg is reinvesting in Visma through its Saturn 2 fund, while some older Hg vehicles are reducing their holdings, according to Friday’s statement. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and General Atlantic are increasing their holdings in Visma, while London-based Montagu Private Equity sold its entire investment through the transaction.

The software company’s management also sold some of their holdings, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. In total about 44% of Visma has changed hands, the person said.

Hg’s overall stake in the business has been reduced to 54% following the transaction. A representative for Hg declined to comment beyond Friday’s statement.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp. and ABG Sundal Collier Holing ASA worked on the sale. The incoming investors were advised by Arma Partners LLP, Jefferies Financial Group Inc. and Carnegie Investment Bank AB.

Hg, one of the biggest backers of private software businesses in Europe, led the original delisting of Visma from the Oslo stock exchange in 2006. It has since reinvested in the business several times. Singapore state investment company GIC Pte is also an investor in Visma.

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