6 months ago
January 29, 2021
Across Systems’ Gerd Janiszewski on Selling the TMS Provider to Volaris Group
Translation management system provider, Across Systems, a household name for anyone involved in localizing technical documentation, has been acquired by Volaris Group, as the company reported in a January 14, 2021 press release. Focused on acquiring and developing vertical market software companies, Volaris Group is part of Toronto-listed Constellation Software. The financial terms of the transaction were undisclosed.
“Volaris took the first step,” said Gerd Janiszewski, Managing Director at Across, when asked about the genesis of the deal. Janiszewski told Slator that he was “totally fascinated” with Volaris’ fairly unique structure from the very beginning. For one thing, “Volaris never sells the companies they acquire,” he said.
Moreover, rather than integrating the companies they acquire, Volaris retains each organization’s independence, according to the company website. This means the deal will likely change little for Across’ clients and partners in the short term — except that, now, Across has a powerful backer to support the business.
As Janiszewski explained, the acquired business will “typically operate independently inside Volaris and continue with their own brand and management team.” He added, “Volaris is focused on providing resources, best practices, and support to Across Systems.”
Candid Take on the Market
Market opportunities for DACH-based Across (and translation tech providers, in general) are present worldwide throughout the supply chain, according to Janiszewski; from industries and enterprises to language service providers and freelancers.
As a pure-play technology provider, Across’ strengths square with those markets that demand full control over processes and data streams in a secure system, he said, adding that this is especially true of corporate clients within DACH, although they see “great opportunities” across the globe as well.
“We’re actively looking to broaden our offering through acquisitions with well-established, mature technologies, as well as new technologies”
Asked for his views on the recent TMS funding and M&A wave (e.g., Memsource, Smartcat, Lokalise, Phrase), Janiszewski pointed out, “It’s obvious that we have two megatrends at the same time: concentration and the rise of new ideas, projects, technologies, which can add great value for users. And yes, we work on both. We’re actively looking to broaden our offering through acquisitions with well-established, mature technologies, as well as new technologies, which we do not have in our existing offering.”
According to the Across Managing Director, “LSPs — especially the Super Agencies — are trying to strengthen their client relationships by using proprietary technologies that make it very hard (expensive) for clients to shift to another translation vendor. And, after a while, total costs for translation services for those clients are rising.”
Meanwhile, Janiszewski noted, “Other vendors are trying to gain access to client data in order to collect it and trying to generate and invoice additional services, which are purely based on the data of the clients. And the usage of this data certainly is not limited to the clients who own and paid for that data. This trend also tries to (as a by-product) eliminate traditional LSPs from the market.”
As for Across, it will remain “a pure tech company,” Janiszewski said, providing clients “valuable independence and full control over their data — throughout the whole supply chain and at any time.”
On the timing of the acquisition, he said Across was “keen to join” Volaris simply because they wanted to be part of a larger organization where they could make things happen and learn from a community of peers, which would not have been possible otherwise. The rationale behind the transaction was not purely financial, Janiszewski told Slator.
Asked if an exit by Volaris was, at all, a possibility, Janiszewski reiterated, “Volaris Group buys and holds companies. They never sell the companies they acquire.”
No M&A advisers were involved in the deal. Osborn Maledon of Phoenix, Arizona and CMS Hasche Sigle of Frankfurt, Germany provided legal advice for Across.