Funds advised by Apax Partners (“Apax Funds”) has announced that they have reached a definitive agreement to acquire ECi Software Solutions, a provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB) across the distribution, field services, building and construction and manufacturing industries.
ECi has invested heavily in its core verticals to transition all product sets to the cloud. The Apax Funds investment will accelerate this initiative as ECi continues to provide best-of-breed, industry-specific functionality.
Concurrent with this transaction, the Macola, JobBOSS and MAX businesses of Exact Software (a current Apax Funds portfolio company) will be combined with ECi. These businesses are based in the U.S. and provide ERP software applications to a wide range of SMB manufacturers.
The combination of Exact’s Macola, JobBOSS and MAX businesses with ECi will create a diversified SMB-focused business offering end-to-end technology solutions. The current ECi senior management team, including Chief Executive Officer Ron Books, will continue to lead the combined company, which will be known as ECi Software Solutions. It will remain headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas.
ECi is currently owned by affiliates of The Carlyle Group and Level Equity. Carlyle will retain a minority ownership position in the combined company. The transactions are expected to close in the third quarter of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions.
Jason Wright, a partner at Apax, said, “Apax is excited to back Ron and his team’s vision of accelerating organic growth through the transition to SaaS. The combination of Exact’s Macola, JobBOSS and MAX businesses with ECi will further enhance our offering in the manufacturing vertical and provides a compelling platform for future acquisitions.”
“Apax Funds’ acquisition of ECi is the start of another exciting chapter in our history of supporting the growth of small- and medium-sized businesses,” said Ron Books, CEO of ECi Software Solutions since 2009 and with the company for over 19 years. “As one of the largest private SaaS businesses in the world, this transaction will allow us to continue to deliver innovative solutions to our nearly 15,000 customers – expanding our footprint in our current vertical markets and beyond. Adding in Exact’s Macola, JobBOSS and MAX businesses gives ECi an even broader and deeper product suite to fit the ever-changing needs of manufacturers.”
Carlyle Managing Director Steve Bailey said, “It has been a tremendous pleasure working with Ron and his team to transition ECi to a software-as-a-service business model, a strategy Carlyle has employed in many software companies. We see significant upside in ECi and are pleased to continue as an investor and to partner with Apax and its vision for the continued growth of, and investment in, the company.”
The legal and financial advisors to Apax Partners are Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Ernst & Young LLP, respectively. The legal and financial advisors to ECi are Latham & Watkins LLP, BofA Merrill Lynch and PwC, respectively.
On cannot ignore the impact that private equity is having on the imaging channel. With this announcement, one of the imaging channel’s more prominent software providers, backed by the equity of Apax Partners, has become an even bigger company with the potential to become even bigger still. This acquisition also represents Apax Partner’s return to the ERP space after having sold Epicor, a provider of ERP systems back in 2016. While ECi Software Solutions has a product mix that extends beyond just offerings for the imaging and office products space, don't be surprised if the company extends its reach even further into the markets it currently serves and others via future acquisitions.
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