Apax Partners In Talks to Exit Prosodie

European computer consultancy Capgemini is in talks to buy private equity-owned outsourcing and payment services provider Prosodie for an enterprise value of 382 million euros ($549.2 million). Buyout shop Apax Partners acquired a stake in Prosodie in 2006, and delisted the company in late 2007. A deal for the company could reportedly be finalized by July.

PRESS RELEASE

Apax Partners, together with Altamir Amboise, and the management team of Prosodie have signed an exclusive agreement with Capgemini with a view to the sale of Prosodie, a leader in multi-channel transactional flow management. The transaction could be finalised in the coming weeks, on the basis of an enterprise value of €382 million, including the cost of two recently-announced acquisitions, Internet-Fr in France and LevelIP in Italy. It may have a positive impact of €0.45 on Altamir Amboise’s Net Asset Value.

The transaction is the culmination of a successful and long-standing partnership between Apax Partners and Prosodie. Apax Partners’ involvement dates back to 1997, when it joined forces with founder, Alain Bernard, to acquire the company from the Hersant family, before organising its IPO a year later. Subsequently, Prosodie’s managers, George Croix and André Saint-Mleux, naturally turned to Apax Partners to acquire the 44% stake sold by Alain Bernard in November 2006. In accordance with market regulations, Apax Partners (via Camélia Participations) then launched a takeover bid for the remainder of Prosodie’s share capital, and the company was delisted in late 2007. This transaction was conducted in association with the management team, on the basis of an enterprise value of €188 million at that time.

Apax Partners has played its role of active and committed shareholder to the full, contributing its IT-Telecom expertise and its experience as a business developer, and actively supporting the strategy that has driven Prosodie’s success over recent years.

This strategy has been for Prosodie to focus on its core business, namely B2B activities in Europe, and to divest its consumer division (Météo Consult, Chaîne Météo, Genycourses, France-Examens) and its activities in the United States. The company also significantly strengthened its presence in Spain via the 2008 acquisition of Servicom2000, a company specialising in voice services. In 2011, it has acquired two Internet hosting specialists, Internet-Fr in France and Level IP in Italy.

In the last four years, Prosodie has enjoyed steady organic growth and a very significant increase in profitability: its current operating income more than doubled to €26.3 million in 2010, on revenue of €172.3 million.

George Croix, Chairman and CEO of Prosodie, said: “We thank Apax Partners and their teams for their contribution, particularly in terms of industry expertise, and their support for growth and acquisitions. Our closeness and our shared vision have allowed us to make Prosodie a leader in its sector and to embark on a new phase of our growth with the backing of a leading global player in consulting and IT services.”

Eddie Misrahi, Chairman and CEO of Apax Partners, said: “Prosodie is a very successful business, to which we are proud to have contributed, and which exemplifies our strategy of investing in growth companies in one of our areas of specialisation and alongside a very high quality team. We remain very confident in the potential and prospects of the company and we welcome the new growth opportunities that may arise from its merger with Capgemini.”

About Prosodie
Cloud computing player, Prosodie is specialized in multi-channel transactional flows management for large corporate accounts. Prosodie’s areas of expertise include: multi-channel customer relationship, IT outsourcing, mobile services, prepaid and payment services.

Located in France, Spain, and Belgium, the group achieved in 2010 €172.3 million in consolidated revenues, €26.3 million in operating profits and employed a total number of 861 people (31 December 2010). Prosodie’s activities throughout France are ISO 9001 v2000 certified.