Datawords In Bolt-on Acquisition of Video Content Agency 87seconds

France-headquartered digital marketing and language services firm Datawords has acquired a Belgian video content agency, 87seconds, for an undisclosed purchase price.

87seconds is headquartered in Brussels and has offices in Paris, Lyon, Geneva, Amsterdam and Madrid, with a total headcount of 70 people. The company has been privately owned since its creation in 2012 and posted revenues of upwards of USD 5m for 2017.

Datawords posted revenue of USD 65m in 2017 and has 500 FTEs (full-time equivalents) worldwide, with the main hubs based in Paris, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, New York, Brussels, Milan and Barcelona.

Datawords offers what it calls e-multicultural technologies, with services like language technology, online marketing, and localization. The company is owned by its management as well as private equity funds Cathay Capital, Keensight Capital and Bpifrance.

87seconds isn’t Datawords’ first acquisition. The company acquired video production company Digiprod in 2014, as well as Luxembourg-based digital marketing firm Vanksen in January 2018.

A Datawords spokesperson told Slator that “87seconds will continue operating under its own name and brand, as part of the Datawords‘ Group” post-acquisition. The leadership team, comprising Thibaut Dehem, Founder; Philip Swinnen, Managing Director; Violaine Mouchet, Country Manager France; and Maarten van der Weijden, Country Manager Netherlands, will be staying on to focus on existing and potentially new markets.

Datawords told Slator that “we are building an integrated global Group, dedicated to the international deployment of content and multicultural technologies, to become the international reference in this domain and to offer our clients a range of experts for their global strategies.”

Datawords is not alone in zooming in on video content localization for corporate and media clients. TransPerfect, which topped the Slator LSPI with 2017 revenues of USD 614.8m, also competes in this space through its TransPerfect studios business line, i.e. audio and video production, digital production and creative consultation services.

Datawords is open to more M&A opportunities to achieve growth in the future, telling Slator that “Datawords will continue to look for new acquisitions to both complete its digital production and creation offering and reinforce or expand its geographical footprint, particularly in North America, Europe and China.”

The lawyers on the deal were Gomel Avocats, Ayache Salama and Loyens Loeff for Datawords, and CMS for 87seconds. M&A advisory was provided by Eurvad Finance for Datawords and eCap Partner for 87seconds. Financial due diligence was carried out for Datawords by Exelmans.

For expert analysis and a full list of all 2017 deals covered on Slator including price, earnings or revenue multiples paid where available, sector, country, type, and more, download the Slator 2017 M&A Report.