Germany-based language service provider (LSP) DEMAN Translations (DEMAN Übersetzungen) has acquired two local translation boutiques: tsglobal in August 2023 and Easytrans24.com at the start of October.
tsglobal specializes in technical translations and has expertise in the areas of construction, mobile cranes, and aerial work platforms. Easytrans24.com is a sector-agnostic online translation company with strong digital marketing capabilities.
DEMAN’s CEO, Cédric Sigoire, told Slator that tsglobal will be incorporated into DEMAN’s brand, while EasyTrans24.com will retain its own brand and “be marketed as our German lead generation platform.”
DEMAN plans to leverage Easytrans24’s digital marketing expertise and scale it across the company. Easytrans24’s use of third-party translation management provider Plunet, along with its ISO 17100 certification, brings additional benefits to the group.
Sigoire said tsglobal and easytrans24.com’s project managers and “reliable translators” were also important factors in the deals. The two former owners of tsglobal and easytrans24.com, Stefan Budrich and Yigit Aslan, respectively, have exited the businesses through the acquisitions.
Sigoire initially approached both founders in 2020 since he was “looking for external growth in Germany.” The acquisitions took three years to complete, with Covid delaying the tsglobal process, and Easytrans24.com’s Founder not initially open to a sale.
According to Sigoire, the purchase price for both companies was a multiple of less than three times (< 3x) EBITDA. Easytrans24.com generated slightly less than EUR 1m in 2022 revenues, while tsglobal’s revenues were around EUR 0.5m.
Following the acquisitions, DEMAN has a total headcount of 50 full-time equivalents (FTEs), as of October 1, 2023. 70% of staff are based in Germany, 25% in France, and 5% in South Korea.
Tips for Buying Boutique LSPs
DEMAN is a serial acquirer of small German and French translation agencies. In 2022 alone, the company acquired Wordstation, Textklinik, and Satellit Sprachen-Service in Germany as well as Arobase Traduction in France (with combined revenues of turnover of EUR 1.3m). There were more acquisitions the previous year.
Sigoire shared the benefit of his buying experience, offering advice to other prospective acquirers of boutique LSPs. He emphasized the importance of understanding the relationship between a boutique LSP and its owner and, for example, ensuring there’s a succession plan if the owner is still involved in the business. Additionally, he advised inspecting recurring revenues from the LSP’s top 10 customers over recent years to gauge stability. He also recommended that buyers check the size of the LSP’s customers and be aware of the risks and unpredictability associated with smaller clients. Lastly, Sigoire encouraged introspection: to only acquire the business if, as its next owner, you believe you can manage it at least as effectively as its current owner.
Asked for an update on how business is going for DEMAN in 2023, Sigoire said “reasonably well so far.” The company has won or renewed a number of tenders in France — “like the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.” In Germany, DEMAN also recently passed the SAP Language Partner requirements. However, he pointed out that “some of our German manufacturing clients are […] suffering from the current economic situation.”
Sigoire added, “we are targeting a consolidated turnover of EUR 8m (USD 8.4m), maybe more if we close further acquisitions by the end of the year.” The company generated revenues of EUR 7.2m (USD 7.7m) in 2022.