Monday 14 October 2019

Global buyers swoop to buy scalable companies

Deal: Liam O’Brien, Managing Director ESP and Accenture’s Ben Salama
Deal: Liam O’Brien, Managing Director ESP and Accenture’s Ben Salama
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Nasdaq-listed Cognizant has acquired Meritsoft, an Irish financial software company that automates processing of taxes, fees, commissions, and cash flow functions between financial institutions in what's been hailed as a successful venture capital exit by backers.

Meritsoft was founded in 2001 by Galway brothers Kerril and Paul Burke, who were shortlisted for EY's Entrepreneur of the year programme in 2013. Paul Burke is a software engineer while Kerril had worked in operations for Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) in London and as a chartered accountant for PwC in Dublin.

The company's FINBOS platform is used by investment banks for their post-trade processing.

Meritsoft has been backed by private equity investors Synova and an affiliate of 22C Capital since 2015. Synova said the exit announced yesterday represents an initial return to it of 4.0x invested capital and an internal rate of return - an industry measure - of 47pc. Further returns are anticipated as a result of an earn-out agreed with Cognizant. M&A advisor Arma Partners acted as exclusive sell-side adviser.

Meanwhile, Accenture has agreed its second Irish acquisition in a year, to buy Cork-based Enterprise System Partners (ESP), a specialist adviser to the life sciences industry.

From its home base in Cork, ESP has provides services globally that allow life science companies to digitally track products and processes. ESP employs a staff of 200 who will work closely with Accenture's Life Sciences group after the acquisition.

Alastair Blair, country managing director for Accenture in Ireland, said buying ESP underscored the firm's commitment to the life sciences sector in Ireland. "We continue to invest in Ireland to grow our talent and increase our capabilities to help our clients apply the very latest digital technologies and drive innovation, further strengthening the position of Ireland as a leader in this," he said.

The deal comes just over a year after Accenture acquired Rothco, a full service creative agency in Dublin with more than 170 employees.

Irish Independent

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