Swiss private equity company Partners Group has acquired a majority stake in Version 1, in that deal that values the Irish technology company at about €800 million.
Partners is buying out the stake held by Volpi Capital, a UK private equity group that invested in the Irish business in 2017. Volpi bought out the founders of the business in a deal that valued the group at about €200 million, thereby netting a substantial windfall for its investors. Version 1 itself has trebled in size since 2017.
The deal is subject to regulatory approvals with the transaction is expected to complete by the middle of this year.
Founded in 1996, Version 1 is a leading digital and cloud transformation partner to public and private sector customers across the UK and Ireland.
Over the past five years, Version 1’s revenues have increased to more than €240 million through a combination of strong organic growth and selective acquisitions, according to the company.
Employing more than 2,100 staff, Version 1 has offices in Ireland, the UK, India and Spain. It made its first UK acquisition in 2013 and has completed 13 acquisitions to date, including Northern Ireland-headquartered digital services specialist Neueda last year.
The business is led by chief executive Tom O’Connor, and fellow directors Jarlath Dooley and former FBD Insurance executive Andrew Langford.
Since 1996, Partners says it has invested over $170 billion (€157 billion) on behalf of its clients globally. It has regional hubs in Switzerland, Singapore, and Denver in the US.
The transaction is expected to offer Version 1 the opportunity to expand its acquisition activity and possibly look to enter new territories.
Commenting on the transaction, Mr O’Connor said: “We thank Volpi Capital for their important and supportive role that has enabled Version 1 triple in size over the past five years. We are extremely pleased to have secured Partners Group as our new partner and majority shareholder.
“Partners Group’s sectoral knowledge and international reach will be as important to Version 1 as their investment and endorsement of our growth strategy. We are also pleased for our customers and staff who will benefit as we continue to grow and add more great people to the Version 1 team.”
Kim Nguyen, partner and co-head of private equity services at Partners Group, said: “We have been tracking Version 1 through our thematic focus on digital transformation. The company is well positioned to capitalise on the tailwinds driving increased digitisation across both the private and public sector and we have conviction in its growth prospects.
“We look forward to working with Version 1’s ambitious management team on our value creation plan.”
Jefferies International acted as financial adviser and Maples and Calder acted as legal adviser to Version 1 on the transaction. Blackthorn Capital supported management shareholders while PwC provided tax advice.