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Advanced acquired by US private equity firm

25th Mar 2015
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Advanced Computer Software Group (ACS) has formally announced it has been acquired by Vista Equity Partners, an American private equity firm.

The deal was initiated in November last year and has now officially taken effect. Shareholders will receive 140p per share equating to an equity value of approximately £725m.

Founded in 2008, Advanced provides healthcare, business and learning management software and services. It is the third-largest UK-based software provider to the UK market, with more than 2,000 employees. The group has grown revenue to more than £200m through a series of acquisitions that brought Exchequer, OpenAccounts and Version One into the group’s portfolio.

Advanced’s move into private hands follows a spate of similar deals involving listed European software houses including e-conomic and Exact. At the time of the initial bid for Advanced in November, the Financial Times noted that only Sage and SAP of the “big boys” remain in public hands.

In that article industry analyst Ian Spence of Megabuyte noted that US cloud vendors such as NetSuite and Workday were making in-roads into Europe and that the Advanced could be “motivated by the costs of transitioning moving towards cloud based delivery models”.

With so many product models to support, it could be that the dislocation and development effort to migrate users could start racking up to levels that are higher than short term public investors were likely to tolerate.

Advanced chief Vin Murria was not available to comment on this point, but said in the company's official press release: “This acquisition means we now have the major financial backing we need to support us through our next phase of growth and establish our position as a serious global player.

“Our customers will benefit from increased investment in our product and services as we continue to offer innovative and leading edge technology solutions implemented both on-premise and, increasingly, via a subscription model.”

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