OK, it is not quite the Christmas Special Edition of Doctor Who but the Insider’s favourite long-running series Vinasty is back with a one-off seasonal special. Yes, it was just announced before the markets opened in London this morning that AIM-listed Advanced Computer Software (ACS) is being bought by US private equity firm Vista Equity Partners in a deal that values the UK healthcare and software specialist at £725m. San Francisco-based Vista said it would pay 140p per ACS share – a premium of 17% to yesterday’s closing price. ACS directors are unanimously recommending the deal to shareholders, which will see the company delisting from AIM.
Vin Murria, CEO of ACS, said: “In the six years from inception in 2008 to February 2014, we have grown the wider ACS Group’s revenue to £203m and adjusted EBITDA to £45m (CAGR of 46% and 44% respectively over the last five years), by a combination of acquisitions and strong organic growth. ACS value has grown from £32m to £725m, with the offer price representing an increase of over 724% over that period – this offer crystallises a significant return to shareholders.” In a statement to MegaBuyte.com, Vin Murria also said that, while organic growth remains solid in the business (the most recent interim results showed revenues for the six months to August up by 8% to £108.1m, of which 5% was underlying organic growth) there would inevitably be a time when the move to SaaS would impact growth and margins.”
Background: Advanced Computer Software is the business that includes Advanced Legal (previously Iris Legal) which Advanced acquired along with the rest of Computer Software Holdings in early 2013. Advanced Legal is the successor to Videss, Mountain, AIM, Laserform and several other UK legal software companies. Meanwhile Vista Equity already owns Aderant and (mainly in the US in-house legal sector) Mitratech. If Aderant is going to be combined with Advanced Legal, this will create a vendor capable of supporting everyone from sole-practitioners through to global law firms.