Integrated Technical Software sold to Strusoft

THE DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN

Our Client – The Vendor

Integrated Technical Software (“ITS”) is the company behind SPACE GASS – Australia’s leading software solution for structural engineers. The core application along with an ever-growing selection of extension modules allows for the multipurpose 3D analysis & design of structures such as bridges, dams, buildings, stadiums, aircraft hangars, mining & industrial infrastructure, membrane structures, towers, tanks, and more. A modular licensing model makes the product accessible to all types of users, with customers ranging from large multinational engineering firms to boutique engineering consultants to government authorities. Since its launch in 1983, SPACE GASS has become the tool of choice for Australian engineers – owing to its purpose-designed capabilities, user-friendly interface, and the regular release of upgrades and new functionality. Over the years, the Business has successfully evolved into a highly profitable concern with a long history of consistent performance including long-tail recurring revenue streams. 

After 35+ years building the Business, ITS’s director sought to enter semi-retirement. He appointed Johnsons Corporate to undertake an international divestment campaign with the aim of finding a strategic acquirer willing to setup a succession strategy and with the means and capabilities to ensure continued growth and success for the organisation.

The International Business Sales Strategy

As the vendor of a leading software brand in a highly specialised industry vertical, ITS represented a very attractive opportunity for trade buyers and financial investors alike. Acquisition highlights included a long-standing customer-base, subscription-based revenues, and consistently healthy margins – all backed by a long-serving and highly skilled technical team. Further-more future growth potential was enhanced by a market-ready portfolio of SG packages adapted for use in overseas markets.

Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing targeted both the Australian and international markets, with a focus on related software businesses as well as the vendors of construction software and other types of engineering applications. In addition, Johnsons commissioned secondary research into the global PE sector to identify firms whose investment parameters spanned the B2B software sector. Johnsons’ proactive direct marketing campaign uncovered a wide range of interested parties from across the different research segments. It elicited almost 40 expressions of interest and a high number of indicative offers. Further vetting and negotiations resulted in the selection of a preferred buyer, with Offer and Acceptance secured within 12 weeks of going to market.

(Read more about how using a Specialised Mid-Market Business Broker Approach to selling your business could get you a better outcome – just like our client).

The International Buyer

Sweden-headquartered StruSoft markets a range of specialised software used across the broader building & construction sector for structural analysis, design, 3D modelling, collaboration, and energy. It is a fast-growing multinational enterprise boasting users in 40+ countries and with an expanding network of localised operations. The purchase of ITS and the highly complementary SPACE GASS package marks Strusoft’s formal entry into the Australian market and its first footstep into the AsiaPacific region

ASI Solutions acquires Int Tec Solutions

THE ACQUISITION PROGRAM

Our Client – The Buyer

Headquartered in NSW, ASI Solutions is a leading IT managed services provider that services commercial customers across Australia’s eastern seaboard. Over its 35+ years of operation, the Business has worked with a wide range of both private and public sector organisations. It focuses on providing holistic technology solutions – from hardware and software procurement to complete managed services – that harness innovation and advanced technology to streamline organisational processes and transform capabilities. Turning over more than $160M, ASI is a highly entrepreneurial business and was named the #1 Fastest Growing Private Australian Company in 2020 by IBISWorld.

Supplementing strong organic growth, the Business’s directors strategically use acquisitions as a means of accelerating diversification and with the goal of cementing ASI’s position as one of Australia’s leading national IT Services Providers. In 2019, they completed the purchases of Canberra-based Forward IT and New Zealand-based BEarena. Then in late 2020, to bolster their in-house resources, ASI’s directors sought external advisors to facilitate their M&A efforts going forward. They engaged Johnsons to provide hands-on practical assistance – spanning the identification and qualification of suitable targets; the management of terms negotiations and price expectations; and overseeing the due diligence and legal processes involving the exchange of information between multiple stakeholders.

The Acquisition Strategy

Johnsons worked with ASI to design a clear acquisition brief that would target IT product & services businesses operating in Australia and/or New Zealand with revenues up to $25M. Other investment criteria included an established offering in IT services, managed services, and/or hardware sales; a portfolio of B2B customers; and an experienced team of technical staff.

Custom research spanned a number of sectors complementary to ASI’s areas of strategic focus – including IT Managed Services, hardware distribution, audiovisual solutions, and unified communications. Johnsons then ran a proactive direct marketing campaign that uncovered 33 qualified, off-market acquisition targets. Further vetting and negotiations with a shortlist of preferred targets resulted in the execution of an Agreed Terms Sheet between the buyer and its top-rated target.

(Read more about how using a Specialised Mid-Market Business Broker Approach to growing your business through acquisitions could get you a better outcome – just like our client).

The Acquired Target

From its base in the regional city of Mildura, Int Tec Solutions provides IT support services to businesses across northeast Victoria. Its offering combines the latest technology with skilled IT experts and results in increased efficiency, reduced costs, and more vigorous security for its customers. For Int Tec, this was an opportunity to establish a succession strategy for its original owners.  

Acuneeds Australia sold to Seirin Corp

THE DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN

Our Client – The Vendor

A long-established B2B distributor of specialised healthcare supplies used in the field of complementary medicine, Acuneeds services and supports practitioners of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine in Australia and New Zealand. Originally founded in 1985, the Business initially focused on importing and wholesaling premium acupuncture needles sourced from the world’s best manufacturers. In 2005 it was acquired by a new owner, who then extended the product range into herbal medicines and other supply categories used in ancillary health settings. In addition, they introduced co-sponsored CPD training seminars for health practitioners.

After 15 years of developing the Business, Acuneed’s owner began exploring the possibility of exiting by way of sale to a third party and spent considerable time working with Johnsons to determine an optimal go-to-market strategy. As part of that preparatory process, Acuneeds elected to forewarn one of its key suppliers about the potential divestment. Unexpectedly that party then tabled a preemptive offer for the Business. As such, instead of undertaking a comprehensive sales campaign on Acuneeds’ behalf, Johnsons accepted a more limited engagement to negotiate and secure formal Offer & Acceptance with the suitor and, thereafter, to facilitate an exclusive process of due diligence and legals through to settlement.

The Sales Strategy

In a normal end-to-end sales process, Johnsons would have conducted research to build a custom database of prospective buyers for our client. As a primary target segment, this would have included other Australian distributors of medical and ancillary healthcare supplies & equipment. In addition, Johnsons would have performed a ‘sweep’ of adjacent sectors such as online retailers of healthcare and alternative health products, health food wholesalers, and/or domestic manufacturers of health-related goods & supplies.

In this case, Johnsons acted on behalf of our client to qualify the preemptive offer submitted by Seirin. It was only after a careful screening process and the evaluation of risk related to negotiating with a single buyer that we could advise our client in support of deferring a comprehensive sales campaign to pursue the tabled proposal. Leveraging our experience in similar scenarios, Johnsons was able to help the parties negotiate a mutually agreeable term sheet from the basis of the original offer.

(Read more about how using a Specialised Mid-Market Business Broker Approach to selling your business could get you a better outcome – just like our client).

The International Buyer

Japanese company, Seirin Corporation, is a leading manufacturer and global supplier of acupuncture needles. As one of Acuneed’s key suppliers, the two Businesses share a long and close relationship. This acquisition represented a rare opportunity for Seirin to shore up its channel-to-market in Australia, while simultaneously making its first step into the world of wholesale distribution.

Ausdeck Group sold to Alpin Group

THE DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN

Our Client – The Vendor

The Ausdeck Group is a collection of specialist manufacturing businesses serving several sectors across the Australian home improvement & construction industries. The Group is comprised of four interrelated business units with vertically integrated supply lines, each operating independently to serve specific market niches. Acquired in 2000 Roll Form Industries (operating since 1977) manufactures roll-formed steel products for residential, commercial, mining, electrical, telecoms and agricultural markets; launched in 2002 Ausdeck Patios & Roofing manufacturers patios & roofing systems for both home improvement and commercial markets; formed in 2007 Bent Sheetmetal manufactures metal rainwater, flashing and gutter solutions for the home improvement and commercial construction markets; and acquired in 2016 Fusion EPS manufactures expanded polystyrene products for the building and laminated panel markets among others. By FY19 the Ausdeck Group employed circa 120 staff across multiple operations in QLD and NSW, with consolidated revenues exceeding $42 million.  

Having built up the combined businesses over almost 20 years, in 2019 Ausdeck Group’s founding director engaged Johnsons to undertake a strategic divestment campaign, comprising the sale of all four business units. His objective was to exit his shareholding, crystalising historical growth, while ensuring continuity for the Group’s businesses, their long-dedicated management teams, and employees.

The Business Sales Strategy

In the context of Australia’s strong building & construction sector, this acquisition opportunity would prove attractive to prospective buyers seeking to leverage Ausdeck’s large-scale advanced manufacturing capacity, its market leading position across complementary product segments, and its strong consolidated balance sheet.

Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing focused on related manufacturing businesses in international markets and comprised the suppliers of metal roofing products as well as diversified building products. In addition, Johnsons commissioned secondary research into the global PE sector to identify firms whose investment parameters spanned the construction supplies sector. Johnsons ran a proactive direct marketing campaign that uncovered multiple interested parties. However, with the advent of Covid-19 and the consequent impact on international travel, a decision was made to refocus the campaign to target Australian family offices & financial acquirers. After a second marketing campaign, Johnsons had generated a total of 32 expressions of interest. Further vetting and negotiations resulted in the selection of a preferred buyer.

(Read more about how using a Specialised Mid-Market Business Broker Approach to selling your business could get you a better outcome – just like our client).

The Financial Buyer

Alpin Group is an Australian integrated investment and advisory house, focused on privately owned businesses in Australia and New Zealand. For Alpin, this acquisition provided an opportunity to back and further develop a highly successful Australian manufacturing firm, as well as a springboard into the growing home improvement and construction sectors.

Fluid Power Services sold to Coventry Group

THE DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN

Our Client – The Vendor

Founded in 1991, Fluid Power Services (“FPS”) is one of Tasmania’s leading providers of hydraulic engineering services and supplies. Based in Launceston, the Business utilises its in-house technical expertise to provide customers with premium products, high-end services, and bespoke fluid-power solutions. Operating for 28+ years, Fluid Power had built a reputation as a ‘one-stop-shop’, ensuring customers’ needs were met with high quality workmanship. As a result of its leading position in the marketplace, the Business was able to secure strategic supplier arrangements with two leading, global hydraulic equipment manufacturers – Rexroth™ and Hydac™ – further strengthening its customer value proposition. Consistent year-on-year performance saw Fluid Power grow organically to over $6 million turnover in FY20 with a team of nine staff members.

Having built the Business since inception, in 2019 Fluid Power’s two directors sought to exit and begin their retirement by way of sale to a third party – with the objective of finding a new owner committed to the ongoing operation of the Business. When they engaged Johnsons to undertake a national divestment campaign targeting related trade buyers, it was with a clear understanding of the challenges posed by FPS’s regional location and its high dependence on the owners in day-to-day operations. Johnsons was careful to set realistic expectations about the potential impact these factors could have on the sales process.

The National Sales Strategy

For prospective trade buyers, this acquisition represented a solid bolt-on opportunity. At the time of sale, Tasmania’s economic growth was outpacing that of Australia as a whole, and many of the industry sectors represented by Fluid Powers customers were projected to experience ongoing solid growth. In that light, a new owner could expect continuing demand for the Business’s services and would also have further growth opportunities to explore.

Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing focused on Australian providers of hydraulic services & supplies as primary targets. Then, to maximise the pool of potential buyers, secondary research made a comprehensive sweep of related sectors. Johnsons ran a proactive national marketing campaign that uncovered 25 qualified, interested parties. As anticipated, there followed a prolonged period of negotiations which were further complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Johnsons remained committed to finding a buyer, eventually securing Offer & Acceptance after a second round of marketing post the initial Covid lockdowns.

(Read more about how using a Specialised Mid-Market Business Broker Approach to selling your business could get you a better outcome – just like our client).

The Strategic Trade Buyer

ASX-listed Coventry Group is a distributor of industrial products and services operating throughout ANZ. Its two divisions, Fluid Systems and Trade Distribution, operate a number of independent subsidiary businesses. This acquisition aligned with Coventry’s strategic turnaround program, which included an expansion of its presence in Tasmania.

Yellow Octopus sold to Marlin Brands

THE DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN

Our Client – The Vendor

Established in 2013, Yellow Octopus quickly became one of Australia’s leading brands in the online giftware space. The award-winning Business offers a vast, ever-evolving range of cool, inspirational, quirky, and fun products through its user-friendly website and Melbourne-based storefront. Its core strength is the ability to source unique and hard-to-find products and market them effectively to online consumers. A consistent focus on digital marketing has drawn high levels of Internet traffic to the website; while a commitment to high service standards drives positive online reviews and endorsements. Strong growth since inception saw Yellow Octopus build a large customer-base of +185k predominantly female consumers, with transaction volumes increasing ten-fold to FY18. Over the same period, sales growth surpassed the annualised growth rate of the online shopping sector as a whole, and earnings consistently improved year-on-year.

Having built the Business over a short period of time into a fast-growth profitable concern, Yellow Octopus’ director engaged Johnsons Corporate to conduct an international sales campaign. The objective was to find a strategic acquirer with the capital and resources to help take the Business to the next level – deepening its market penetration, broadening its product range, and building stronger footholds in the high-growth youth and high-margin corporate segments.

The International Sales Strategy

For potential acquirers, this Business represented an attractive opportunity. With its established footprint in Australia and recent entry into the New Zealand market, Yellow Octopus appealed to buyers seeking to leverage a fast-growth niche product offering and/or a recognised online brand with a loyal following of 26-45-year-old female consumers.

Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing focused on Australian and international online retailers of toys, gifts and homewares. In addition, Johnsons commissioned secondary research spanning the Australian market and including traditional retailers and wholesalers of the same product categories as well as the resellers of promotional merchandise and general online retailers. A proactive direct marketing campaign generated high levels of interest from a mix of parties, with Johnsons taking a hands-on approach to screening prospective acquirers and negotiating with qualified parties. In the face of Covid-related challenges to the business environment, which saw an initial front-running buyer withdraw from the sales process, Johnsons was able to secure Offer & Acceptance within 19 weeks of reinitiating conversations with back-up buyers.

(Read more about how using a Specialised Mid-Market Business Broker Approach to selling your business could get you a better outcome – just like our client).

The Synergistic Trade Buyer

Backed by an international private equity firm, Marlin Brands owns and manages a portfolio of consumer durable businesses with a focus on the living, gifting and convenience segments. Wholesaling to major and independent retailers, its products are found in over 15,000 outlets across Australia. This acquisition adds a complementary range of products to its portfolio, while also creating new retail revenue streams.

Vision Environment sold to Trinity Consultants, Inc

THE DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN

Our Client – The Vendor

Based in Gladstone QLD, Vision Environment (“VE”) is a boutique environmental consultancy with a wide range of capabilities relevant to saltwater, estuarine and freshwater ecosystems. Its core business is the provision of water quality monitoring services to clients involved in commercial dredging &/or other industrial activities that impact on marine environments. The Business differentiates itself by bringing together a highly qualified and multi-disciplinary team of experts with a suite of its own proprietary research & technology solutions to offer real-time, fully-validated water quality monitoring. The strength of VE’s niche offering – backed by a 10-year track record – has seen this mid-sized, regional operator regularly win interstate engagements as well as overseas in New Zealand.

Vision was established in 2008 by two doctorate holders with deep environmental science experience, focused on applying the rigours of scientific investigation and academic research to the design & delivery of its service offering as well as to the development of its own technology solutions. After more than 10 years building the Business and 18+ years in the industry, the Directors wanted to setup a succession strategy and ensure continued future growth for the Business. They engaged Johnsons Corporate to undertake a sales campaign, seeking a strategic acquirer that could take the Business to the next level.

The International Sales Strategy

For prospective buyers, VE represented an established profitable business with a strong pipeline of future works, in addition to a highly experienced team, loyal customer-base and strong industry relationships. Furthermore, it presented multiple opportunities to leverage the strength of its unique offering and proprietary technologies into new markets &/or geographies.

Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing focused on Environmental Consultancies in Australia and overseas as the primary target market. Secondary research segments spanned Engineering Consultancy, Project Management, Assets & Infrastructure Management, Dredging Services, and Testing & Inspection Services. Johnsons ran a proactive international marketing campaign that uncovered 21+ qualified, interested parties. Further vetting and negotiations resulted in the selection of a preferred buyer, with Offer and Acceptance secured within 16 weeks of going to market.

(Read more about how using a Specialised Mid-Market Business Broker Approach to selling your business could get you a better outcome – just like our client).

The Strategic Trade Buyer

Texas-based Trinity Consultants Inc is a PE-backed EHS (environmental health and safety) consulting company with offices across the United States, Canada, the UK, Asia and Australia. The acquisition of Vision Environment has increased the diversification of its service offering and has further added to its growing geographical footprint in Oceania.