Ubiqus in Spanish One-Two Punch, Buys Celer and Remaining 60% of Poliglota

Ubiqus expands in Spain. The France-headquartered language service provider (LSP) announced that it has acquired Celer Soluciones and Traducciones Poliglota, two boutique Spanish LSPs. Ubiqus first acquired a 40% stake in Poliglota in 2006 and has now bought the remaining 60%.

Ubiqus President Vincent Nguyen declined to disclose the value of the two deals when Slator reached out but said the transactions were financed with debt.

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Competitive M&A Process

He said the acquisitions are “very complimentary.” Celer is mostly oriented to the life sciences sector, giving Ubiqus a foothold in that multibillion-dollar market, while Poliglota is “more generalist,” servicing law firms, the public sector, the European Union, and clients from a variety of other sectors. According to Nguyen, the bidding for Celer was competitive, as is to be expected for an LSP focused on life sciences.

Nguyen kept quiet about the recent financial performance of the two Spanish firms but disclosed that Ubiqus generated revenues of about EUR 70m (USD 80m) and an EBITDA of EUR 15m (USD 17m) in 2016.

Celer was 95 percent-owned by its director-general Enrique Díaz de Liaño, who will retire after the integration, and 5 percent-owned by Candi Valdes, who will take over as CEO of Celer.

The 60 percent stake in Poliglota was equally split among Paloma Valenciano, Marga Ruiz, and Maria-José Junquera, who will all stay on.

Streamline and Integrate

Nguyen says Celer’s Díaz de Liaño “will accompany the integration into Ubiqus until year end 2017, and starting 2018 we will probably merge the two companies.”

Both Celer and Poliglota use the same translation productivity tools, but each has developed proprietary translation management systems (TMS). Nguyen says Ubiqus will eventually “streamline and integrate our own in-house TMS.”

While the roles of both companies’ managements in the combined entity have yet to be determined, Nguyen believes “there is no real overlap in positions.”

According to Nguyen, bolstering their presence in Spain and the country’s economic recovery were the main drivers behind the deals. Asked if Ubiqus is exploring additional M&A, Nguyen said, “We are always in talks. We have acquired more 20 companies in the past 15 years, but we are very selective on profitability, quality, etc.”

The two acquisitions add 30 full-time staff to Ubiqus, bringing the group’s FTE total to 500.

The Celer and Poliglota acquisitions were closed on July 5 and 6, 2017, respectively. Celer was advised by M&A advisor ONE to ONE Corporate Finance and consultancy Mazars. Providing legal advice to Ubiqus was Fernando Servet from Spanish law firm Sánchez de León Abogados.

Florian Faes

Co-Founder of Slator. Linguist, business developer, and mountain runner. Based in the Shire, aka Zurich, Switzerland.