M&A Content

20 Tips to Maximize Private Equity, Investment and Strategic Buyer Outcomes (Part 4: You Can’t Hide the Customer Voice) [PRO]

The Spend Matters analyst team has collectively been involved in dozens of transactions in the procurement solutions market in recent years. From our vantage point, especially in the due diligence area, we have seen firsthand how most sellers only partially prepare to maximize their upside to come out of a transaction/investment.

This Spend Matters Nexus brief provides insight into how a company in the procurement solutions sector (and others) is likely to be evaluated so that it can best prepare for a process. In our view, transactions do not have to be a zero sum game, as optimal synergies are best when planned, measured and then executed against.

So far in this Nexus series, we covered the initial nine tips to prepare — ideally far in advance — for the process itself (see Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3). Today’s installment focuses on the voice of the customer — and almost singularly how important this factor is overall. Tip number 10: Knowing what your customers think (and how smart buyers, especially private equity, will discern the true state of customer satisfaction and metrics even without the support of the selling firm).

Many management teams are not aware of the lengths that acquirers and their advisers will go to in conducting advanced customer due diligence. This includes reviewing all available third-party information in the public (or “partial” public domain), such as talking to analysts, consultants/channel partners and, of course, reference customers themselves — whether sanctioned or not by the selling party. Their techniques might surprise you, as the voice of the customer is an indispensable due diligence component in mitigating risk, as well as helping quantify synergies and upside for a given deal.

Jason Busch serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a membership, research and advisory organization serving technology acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and CEOs in the procurement and finance solutions marketplace (including contract management, B2B marketplaces/connectivity, indirect procurement, services procurement, direct procurement, commodity management, payment, trade financing, GRC/third-party management and related adjacent sectors).

20 Tips to Maximize Private Equity, Investment and Strategic Buyer Outcomes (Part 3: Before the Process — Third-Party Validated Analysis and the Importance of Understanding the Strategic Buyer Landscape) [PRO]

Aside from companies already owned by private equity firms, it is the rare solution provider — or any company — that is selling to private equity, going out for a later investment round or seeking a strategic buyer that has prepared adequately for the transaction process in such a way that the efforts will fully maximize the valuation, terms and other factors in its favor. That is, unless it gets lucky, and to be fair, some folks get lucky!

As expert advisers — primarily to “buyers” — we’ve seen this phenomenon play out time-and-time again in the procurement solutions universe. But it doesn’t have to continue to be that way. This series is focused on leveling the playing field for more advanced sellers of all types, gained by sharing our lessons learned from over 20 years of involvement in transactions in the sector, and especially our work as advisers to private equity investors, nearly all of which are extremely methodical and rigorous in their deal screening and due diligence processes.

So far in this Spend Matters Nexus series, we covered the initial seven tips to prepare — ideally far in advance — of the process itself (see Part 1 and Part 2). Today we continue with the next two tips to pay particular attention to in the lead-up to a process (but still ideally before it begins). And later in the series, we will explore tips to leverage in the actual process itself, ideally once you’ve fully prepared ahead of time to maximize your chances of an optimal exit, transaction or investment.

Jason Busch serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a membership, research and advisory organization serving technology acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and CEOs in the procurement and finance solutions marketplace (including contract management, B2B marketplaces/connectivity, indirect procurement, services procurement, direct procurement, commodity management, payment, trade financing, GRC/third-party management and related adjacent sectors).

Coupa financial results: Delving into another strong quarter [PRO]

procurement

Earlier this week, Coupa reported its Q2 results for fiscal 2020, achieving revenue of over $95 million (a near 55% increase year-over-year, primarily from organic growth). The quarterly revenue performance beat analysts’ estimates, and non-GAAP EPS was also above expectations, although cash flow from operating activities declined quarter-over-quarter. Regardless, investors cheered the results, helping Coupa hit a price/sales ratio of nearly 28X in early morning trading on Thursday — and a roughly $9 billion market cap (representing over 125% appreciation in the stock price in 2019 alone).

That’s valuation perfection by just about any measure when compared to peers.

But what is happening within Coupa (and the broader market) under the surface that is driving these numbers? This Spend Matters Nexus brief provides insight on broader (and related) market trends while peeling back a few layers of the onion on what’s driving Coupa’s success, including how it is benefiting from various competitive dynamics in the market (e.g., SAP Ariba’s broader integration hurdles), as well as some of the challenges Coupa must confront to fully capitalize on its acquisitions.

Jason Busch serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a membership, research and advisory organization serving technology acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and CEOs in the procurement and finance solutions marketplace (including contract management, B2B marketplaces/connectivity, indirect procurement, services procurement, direct procurement, commodity management, payment, trade financing, GRC/third-party management and related adjacent sectors).

20 Tips to Maximize Private Equity, Investment and Strategic Buyer Outcomes (Part 2: Before the Process — TAM and Scenario Planning) [PRO]

Many solution providers’ executive teams that we have observed are not as prepared to enhance their chances of optimal private equity, investment and M&A outcomes. This Spend Matters Nexus series provides insight from the thousands of hours we have spent working with private equity groups, CEOs and boards to evaluate acquisition targets — and with sellers to optimize exit scenarios and outcomes in the procurement solution market.

In the first installment of the series, we provided five recommendations to prepare wisely for an eventual process.

Today, we continue the analysis with our next tips to consider as the actual process approaches (i.e., “pre-process” tips). These include instructive recommendations on taking the time to build a total addressable market (TAM) model and scenario planning/rehearsing the actual process itself, including how to prepare and interrogate a “data room.”

Later in the series, we will explore the deal process itself, offering tips for stewarding the effort and driving to an optimal outcome.

Jason Busch serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a membership, research and advisory organization serving technology acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and CEOs in the procurement and finance solutions marketplace (including contract management, B2B marketplaces/connectivity, indirect procurement, services procurement, direct procurement, commodity management, payment, trade financing, GRC/third-party management and related adjacent sectors).

20 Tips to Maximize Private Equity, Investment and Strategic Buyer Outcomes (Part 1: Preparing Wisely) [PRO]

In recent years, we’ve spent thousands of hours working with private equity groups, CEOs and boards to evaluate acquisition targets — and with sellers to optimize exit scenarios and outcomes in the procurement solution market. In each M&A advisory or SolutionMap due diligence benchmark engagement, there has not been a single study in which we have not learned something new as a team. While from a seller perspective specific tactics can change over time based on conditions in the capital markets, the overall economy and other externalities (e.g., the current “dry powder” excess), there are well over 20 universal tips that we’ve identified that can apply in nearly all scenarios.*

So we decided to write this Spend Matters Nexus brief to share our top 20 lessons learned from the perspective of sellers’ to maximize their private equity, investment and strategic buyer outcomes (based on working “the other side” of the transaction). Today, we start with an initial five tips to prepare wisely (ideally) before a process begins. In the second installment, we’ll continue to share the next five tips for preparing wisely as the actual process approaches (i.e., “pre-process” tips). Then in Parts 3 and 4, we will jump to the actual deal process itself, offering tips for stewarding the effort and driving to an optimal outcome.

Jason Busch serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a membership, research and advisory organization serving technology acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and CEOs in the procurement and finance solutions marketplace (including contract management, B2B marketplaces/connectivity, indirect procurement, services procurement, direct procurement, commodity management, payment, trade financing, GRC/third-party management and related adjacent sectors).

Proactis in Play: Arbitrage and Analysis [PRO]

Two weeks ago, Morningstar reported that Proactis had “received a takeover approach from an unnamed U.S. investor, together with a number (of) expressions of interest,” and that its bankers would review the offers. For those not familiar with the UK-based Proactis, the procurement solutions provider has deep spend management roots on both sides of the Atlantic spanning the private and public sectors, owing to numerous acquisitions made over the years, including, most recently, Esize in 2018.

This Spend Matters PRO and Nexus analysis provides a cursory overview of Proactis’ assets based on past coverage and analyzes the current situation and opportunities for the firm and potential acquirers — as well as different segments of acquirers that may be interested beyond financial buyers alone.

Procurement Leaders acquired by World 50: (Part 1: Company Overview and Questions Raised) [PRO]

Last week, Procurement Leaders announced it had been acquired by World 50, a somewhat “hush hush,” invite-only executive membership organization that does not do much if any PR (although we personally get a chuckle out of the “invitation only, private club” model in a commercial enterprise). From sources we have spoken with, we can best describe World 50 as a Fortune 500 version of YPO or Vistage, with member groups specific to certain functions (e.g., marketing/CMOs, HR, etc.) In contrast, Procurement Leaders is a conference business that leveraged its core success to add other membership-based subscription components.

The first installment of this two-part Spend Matters PRO and Nexus brief provides insight into Procurement Leaders and World 50, and the combination of two providers. The second installment provides analysis and recommendations for executives (in procurement) who are current Procurement Leaders members (or are contemplating membership) as well as Procurement Leaders sponsor (provider) analysis. Finally, we list alternative models/providers that organizations may want to consider.

This research brief is based on public information sources, primary research and interviews.

Procurement Leaders is acquired by World 50

Procurement Leaders — an organization known for its executive conferences, membership and research in the procurement sector — has announced its acquisition by World 50, an executive membership organization. Procurement Leaders CEO Nandini Basuthakur, announced the news Wednesday, saying: “We will continue to offer our unique suite of insights, applications and connections that accelerate global and cross functional transformation to our customers. This will now be further strengthened by the pairing of World 50’s powerful access across the broader C-suite.”

Icertis becomes first true CLM unicorn, with $115M funding round — and it sits atop a market that’s red hot and ripe for M&A [PRO]

Global Risk Management Solutions (GRMS)

Icertis announced today that its latest funding round raised $115 million and that the provider of contract lifecycle management (CLM) is now valued at more than a billion dollars, reaching proverbial “unicorn” status.

The funding round was led by two groups, Greycroft and PremjiInvest, with participation from B Capital Group, Cross Creek Advisors, Eight Roads, Ignition Partners, Meritech Capital Partners and PSP Growth, according to a press release. The latest round brings total funding to date to $211 million, the release said.

Mark Terbeek, a partner at Greycroft, said in the release: “We’ve seen (Icertis) become the undisputed CLM leader, acquiring a huge stable of blue-chip customers and generating a return on capital that is among the best we’ve ever seen. We have no doubt they will become the next giant in the enterprise SaaS market.”

The release also noted that “the AI-infused Icertis Contract Management (ICM) platform is used by companies like 3M, Airbus, Cognizant, Daimler, Microsoft and Sanofi to manage 5.7 million contracts in 40+ languages across 90+ countries.”

Icertis is private and doesn’t disclose revenues, but it has been growing extremely quickly (claiming 125% CAGR over the last four years), and with over 800 employees, a forward-looking revenue run rate approaching $200 million seems reasonable, and only requires a 5X multiple to get to a $1 billion valuation (we believe the revenue multiple to be higher than this).

Also, Icertis is a clear market leader in the CLM space based on our latest Q2 2019 SolutionMap deep-dive competitive assessment (available here for free). And, Icertis competitor Exari was recently acquired at roughly a 10X multiple, so there should be little doubt about Icertis’ favorable prospects.

Icertis announced that its new $115 million in funding will be used for continued product development in adjacent product areas (and geographies), verticalization, possible acquisitions, blockchain development and, of course, AI — which is red hot in CLM.

Spend Matters has covered Icertis for years, and while the firm’s stated mission to “become the contract management platform of the world” may seem a bit audacious, the firm has executed historically well due in part to its strong management team and focused strategy as a true CLM pure play that doesn’t focus on any one particular business process area (e.g, within the sell-side for customer contracts).

The firm is also buoyed by the fact that the CLM market is throwing off its shackles as a place for glorified document management systems set up by legal departments to transfer commercial risk to counterparties. Rather, contracts are becoming the ultimate system-of-record for B2B commerce, not just from a legal department standpoint, but a financial one (e.g., where contracts become the new ledgers that augment the G/L), a regulatory/risk standpoint, and an operational one relevant to any place where internal/external stakeholders make commitments to each other.

We call this concept “commercial value management” (CVM), and we discussed its framework in a recent Spend Matters PRO research paper titled “Commercial Value Management: Making Contracts the Commercial Core of Enterprise Value (Part 1).” In it, we stated:

“There is a subtle shift happening within the scope of contract and commercial management (CCM), and a not-so-subtle shift that is also happening within the digital realm (e.g., namely artificial intelligence, low-code platforms, open source, “XaaS”). What’s happening is that as contracts get digitized and more deeply modeled, they are becoming the single most important piece of master data within the enterprise that touches virtually every single stakeholder within these core processes and also within corporate functions such as R&D, risk management, strategic planning, treasury, audit, sustainability, digital/innovation and others.”

In the rest of this Spend Matters PRO / Nexus brief, we’ll examine the following topics:

* Icertis’ prospects relative to multiple CLM market segments and competitors
* How CLM’s evolution to “CVM” impacts Icertis. (Think of CVM as “extended CLM” on steroids.)
* M&A, exit and other considerations for Icertis — including potential acquirers as an alternative to an IPO.

And in a subsequent deeper dive in the August/September inaugural Spend Matters Nexus members’ newsletter for private equity firms/investors, corporate development teams and solution provider CEOs, we’ll feature Icertis and analyze:

* Icertis’ strategy: lessons learned and key takeaways
* Valuation drivers (for Icertis and similar firms) and possible Icertis M&A acquisition prospects/targets
* The prospects for procurement suite providers with legacy CLM capabilities and Apttus, Conga and others in a CVM world

OK, let’s get to it …

Jaggaer Deal: 5 Enterprise Value Creation Takeaways Learned From Shaping a Procurement Workhorse (Not Just a Unicorn) [PRO]

Last week, Jaggaer announced that Cinven, a European-based private equity firm, had acquired a majority stake in the provider. Various sources, including Bloomberg, place the enterprise value of the transaction, including debt, at $1.5 billion. But as in all private company valuations, it is important to exercise caution in reported numbers and even more so “unofficial” numbers, given the various minority ownership interests, debt, covenants and other considerations associated with such a transaction.

Regardless, we suspect that Accel-KKR, which previously held a majority stake and retains an ownership interest in Jaggaer — as well as Italmobiliare, the original owner of BravoSolution, and a near 10% owner in Jaggaer prior to Cinven’s investment — post transaction, materially increased the enterprise value of the combined SciQuest, BravoSolution and Pool4Tool assets that it brought together under the Jaggaer umbrella. This Spend Matters PRO and Nexus research brief quickly analyzes the state of Jaggaer post-Cinven investment and provides five takeaways for investors, CEOs, corporate development professionals and others curious about the synergies that Accel-KKR created.

Announcing Spend Matters Nexus — Where Capital and Strategy Converge

As I hinted at last week, we’re excited to announce the launch of a new research, advisory and networking organization — Spend Matters Nexus.

The Nexus membership program is designed for investors/acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and solution provider CEOs in the procurement and finance technology/solution ecosystem. Membership offers a new strategic lens to the solution areas covered on Spend Matters.

Nexus was borne out of an increased demand for research subscriptions, due diligence and strategy support with our private equity clients in late 2018 (which has picked up exponentially this year). But recently, our team realized there was a flip side to working with technology acquirers — providing relevant market intelligence for solution provider CEOs, boards and leadership teams on their own strategy, corporate development and business development/partnership initiatives.

Spend Matters Nexus will hopefully become invaluable for both groups. The goal is to provide market intelligence, strategy and due diligence advisory for private equity firms and investors. For CEOs, boards and leadership teams, the program offers insights spanning strategy, corporate development and business development/partnership topics. For all members, there are invitation-only networking opportunities.

Coupa’s 3 Special Forces Teams (Part 1: Corporate Development) [PRO]

Coupa has assembled three behind-the-scenes weapons — non-product, non-solution and non-R&D teams — which it uses to great effect to collectively win individual battles against competitors and, at least so far, the broader growth war in the source-to-pay market from a logo growth perspective in recent years. These are effectively “special forces” groups that have leverage far beyond their individual ability to contribute alone (but would not be successful without the broader Coupa arsenal that they’re supporting).

Other vendors may have one of these weapons individually. Or on paper. But collectively Coupa is the only one that combines them to great effect as it moves its chess pieces around the tactical and strategic board. This Spend Matters PRO brief provides a unique take from the perspective of   long-time industry insider who has seen them put to use effectively from a unique vantage point. Today we start by exploring the first of Coupa’s special forces teams: corporate development.

Jason Busch serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a membership, research and advisory organization serving technology acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and CEOs. The views expressed in this research brief are his and do not necessarily reflect that of the Spend Matters analyst team.