Slator 2023 Language Industry M&A and Funding Report

2023 M&A and Funding Report

The 61-page Slator 2023 Language Industry M&A and Funding Report is the go-to industry report for in-depth analysis of the language industry’s mergers, acquisitions, and funding. The report covers enterprises with core and non-core service offerings to the language industry.

Investors and industry analysts will gain valuable insight into the 2023 data to understand the key trends and transactions within the language service and technology industry. 

In addition to mergers and acquisitions of small and large businesses, the report includes information about startup funding, and provides an analysis of the top-funded translation and localization companies. 

The report also provides insights into investors’ opinions and outlooks, as well as an overall outlook for 2024.

Report buyers and Slator Pro and Enterprise subscribers were invited to a complimentary briefing where the report’s key findings were discussed. A recording will be available for Slator Pro and Enterprise Subscribers.

Send us an email or connect via chat if you prefer to purchase the report via invoice.

Firstly, the Executive Summary gives key facts and figures around the 49 M&A transactions, as well as the 14 funding rounds for 2023. The report gives an overview of the macroeconomic context and trends of 2023 and provides an analysis on how this has affected the M&A transactions over the course of the year. 

Similarly, the report covers startup funding and activity, and offers insight into how this compares with previous years.

Next, while most deal terms and prices typically remain undisclosed, the report presents the year’s purchase prices and transaction valuations of nine deals. This includes insight into EBITDA multiples and revenue multiples, for deals where these figures were disclosed or could be calculated. Additional information is provided around the terms of earn-outs for these transactions.

Furthermore, the report lists the investment activity by private equity over the past 12 months, and includes a description of the funding, together with an overview of the amount funded (where known), and the stake acquired.

The report touches on the two known mergers that Slator has tracked in 2023, in addition to one transaction involving an employee ownership trust.

Next, the report gives detailed guidance on the year’s 39 trade sales, ie. a company-to-company sale. This includes external trade sales and includes an analysis of the rationale behind the transaction.

Multiple pages are dedicated to an in-depth analysis of the motivations behind the industry’s trade sales, which include strategic rationale, as well as geographic and vertical-specific analysis. These are accompanied with easy-to-digest graphs and tables, which include comparisons to data from previous years.

Furthermore, the trade sales analysis includes a new, dedicated section specifically for Super Agencies. This captures the acquisitions of the industry’s leading players, and identifies acquisitions as core or non-core to translation, interpreting, and localization services and technology.

The report presents insight into private equity-backed LSPs and VC- or growth equity-backed LSPs, as well as the profiles of the 20+ most heavily invested private equity firms in the language industry, which help fuel M&A through buy-and-build strategies.

Next, the report provides a dedicated analysis on startup funding and growth investments over the past 12 months, including information on the lead investors in each startup, and the dollar amount raised. 

This includes an analysis of the top-funded companies for 2023 and a heatmap of the top five funded companies over the past six years.

The report concludes with an outlook on M&A and funding activity for 2024, with a word on the impact of the macroeconomic climate and industry trends, such as artificial intelligence (AI), on upcoming M&A activity.

Analysts and industry professionals can also take advantage of eight graphics showing the historic acquisitions of industry Super Agencies, as well as a list of free-to-access interviews with investors and CEOs discussing their companies’ M&A and funding activity.

The report is a must-use reference for senior leadership and corporate development professionals at LSPs, investment banking and private equity professionals, as well as corporate strategy and finance advisers, and anyone else interested in the rapidly evolving competitive landscape of the language industry.

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Table of Contents

Executive Summary 5
Language industry M&A and Funding at a glance: key facts and figures
Introduction6
An introduction to language industry M&A and Funding in 2023, including key trends and investors’ perspectives. 
Purchase Prices and Transaction Valuations12
Analysis of the transaction valuations, revenue, and EBITDA multiples for the handful of transactions that disclosed relevant transaction information.
Financial Investors 14
Coverage and analysis of initial investments by financial investors — typically private equity — in the language industry.
Mergers and EOTs16
Analysis of mergers (between two LSPs) and employee ownership trusts (EOTs) in 2023.
Trade Sales18
In-depth analysis of trade sales — LSP-to-LSP deals — which accounted for the bulk of transactions in 2023. Includes the strategic rationale, locations of buyers and sellers, and seller verticals, 
Private Equity Profiles34
Profiles of the 20+ most heavily invested private equity firms in the language industry, which help fuel M&A through buy-and-build strategies.
Startup Funding and Growth Investments42
Analysis of top funding rounds and growth equity investments in the core language industry in 2023, focusing on key areas of funding in translation, localization, and interpreting companies.
M&A and Funding Outlook47
Read up on what is shaping M&A and funding into 2024 in Slator’s M&A and Funding outlook.
Additional Resources49
Includes eight market consolidation graphics, showing mergers and acquisitions of the industry’s eight Super Agencies over the past 30+ years. This section also includes a list of additional resources on M&A and Funding in the language industry, with links to SlatorPod episodes centered on M&A and Funding from 2020 to 2023.
Appendix60
Glossary of vertical descriptions.

How to Use This Report

The Slator 2023 Language Industry M&A and Funding report can be used to gain a deeper understanding of what drives language industry M&A. This comprehensive set of reference data can also be taken as a benchmark for future transactions.

The information presented in this report is based on the companies, deals, and countries involved in the transactions that Slator tracked and / or covered between January 1 and December 31, 2023. The report does not constitute an exhaustive list and may not include smaller transactions or represent the total volume or value of M&A transactions in the language industry worldwide.