On April 29, 2021, Canadian language service provider TRSB announced the acquisition of local rival Anglocom. Both companies are based in Quebec. The terms of the deal, which completed on April 27, 2021, remain undisclosed.
TRSB CEO Mary Kazamias told Slator that the two companies connected in 2020, just before the pandemic hit. TRSB approached Anglocom as part of their acquisition strategy. “Initial conversations revealed that we were aligned in our vision; we felt that our two organizations could greatly benefit from joining forces. The timing and overall fit were just right,” Kazamias said.
A few months prior, in December 2019, TRSB inked a recapitalization agreement with American private equity firm Hammond, Kennedy, Whitney & Company (HKW). Kazamias told Slator at the time that TRSB was “now an active player in the buying M&A scene.” The LSP’s current shareholders include the original family owners, TRSB’s management team, and HKW.
Kazamias declined to share revenues for Anglocom, but said that the combined company headcount is close to the 300-person mark. “Over 60% of our staff are linguists: translators, revisers, proofreaders, terminologists,” she added.
Anglocom’s highly-skilled linguist workforce, which mainly focuses on French-to-English translation and adaptation, was central to the acquisition, Kazamias explained. She noted that Anglocom’s translation teams bring added expertise since their translators are also writers and they are particularly adept at working on marketing materials.
Anglocom’s two owners, Grant Hamilton (President and Founder) and Grégory Avenet (VP of Operations), will stay on post-sale, Kazamias confirmed.
The TRSB CEO described the two companies as complementary and said there was very little client overlap. Both TRSB and Anglocom mainly serve the Canadian market across a variety of end-customer verticals including finance, insurance, life sciences, technology, public sector, and retail. She said Anglocom adds the advertising expertise.
Kazamias also outlined the translation technology used by the two companies, saying that they currently use different management tools, both proprietary and off-the-shelf, but plan to streamline, eventually.
As for machine translation (MT) and how it is being deployed across the language industry supply chain, Kazamias said: “MT has been around for some time now and we do not foresee any greater impact than it already has had on the industry.”
TRSB generated revenues of CAD 32.4m (USD 24.5m) in 2020, growing by a Covid-beating 14% during the year. Their performance is reflective of what Kazamias described as a “quite healthy” language services market in Canada “even in the last year.” In fact, she said, the “pandemic created a greater demand for high-caliber translation.”
TRSB’s closest local rival by revenues, Quebec-based Versacom, grew strongly by around 17% to CAD 33.4m (USD 26.2m) in 2020, while revenues at Canadian LSPs OXO Group, Scriptis, and LAT Multilingual, all increased as well.
Discussing the road ahead, Kazamias said that the plan is for both brands to remain. “Anglocom will continue to attract and fulfill the needs of customers looking for very high-end translation both in French and English,” she said.
Meanwhile, Kazamias identified a number of key challenges for the next two years: the Canadian labor market, non-core providers (i.e., non-LSPs) competing in translation services, and market consolidation.
Taft and McMillan provided legal advisory on the transaction, while the M&A advisers were PKF Advisory LLC.