ElaN Languages Acquires Germany’s Lingua-World from GEtraNet

ElaN Languages Acquires Lingua-World

Belgian language service provider (LSP) ElaN Languages, has acquired German rival, Lingua-World. The news was announced on July 4, 2023, with the deal having closed on June 30, 2023.

ElaN’s co-CEO, Robrecht Belien, told Slator the rationale behind the deal was to “expand geographically and enter the German market.” He added, “Lingua-World was the perfect fit both in terms of vision, culture, and geography.”

There are further similarities in terms of service and customer mix, with both companies providing translation and interpreting to the public sector and across a range of B2B verticals. ElaN also offers language training.

ElaN was founded in 1999 by Wim Vanschooren and brothers Peter and Eric Vaes. A management buy-out (MBO) in 2018 saw Belien and his father assume ownership of the company. 

Just last year, ElaN secured backing from French private equity firm Andera Partners, with the goal of accelerating ElaN’s growth in France and Europe. For his part, Belien said ElaN was motivated to bring on external investors “to speed up external growth.” 

The firm’s announcement confirmed that Belien and his co-CEO retained around a third of the capital. 

On a Roll…

ElaN went on to acquire Belgium-based translation and interpreting provider Eloquentia earlier in 2023, with Lingua-World now being the company’s second acquisition since its April 2022 sale to private equity.

Lingua-World, which has 45 employees, was previously acquired by GEtraNet, a network of German translation companies, in 2021. At the time, GEtraNet said the companies’ client bases were “entirely different” from one another, which may provide some indication as to why GEtraNet’s ownership of Lingua-World was relatively short-lived.

Belien declined to share details of the purchase price for Lingua-World, or any transaction multiples. However, he said trading thus far in 2023 has been “very strong” and the combined company is projecting consolidated revenues of EUR 43m (USD 48.3m) in 2023 — which would indeed mark a substantial increase from ElaN’s 2022 revenues of EUR 20.5m (USD 22m). 

Discussing plans for Lingua-World post-acquisition, Belien told Slator that the company will begin to roll out ElaN Languages in Germany, while maintaining the Lingua-World brand for public sector customers for the moment. Lingua-World’s leadership will stay on post-sale. 

With new private equity backers and two acquisitions under its belt already in 2023, is ElaN planning on remaining an active buyer? Belien said “we will first consolidate and integrate Lingua-World. After that we will keep looking for targets for further growth.”