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Version 1 lands fresh private equity backer with Partners Group

Track record of the business and position in supporting digital transformation attracted finance player, which has become majority shareholder

The involvement of private equity in the channel has continued, with Partners Group taking a majority shareholder in Version 1.

A change in the majority shareholder gives former backer Volpi Capital an opportunity to end its involvement with the business after five years.

Apart from that, there is little change, with Tom O’Connor, who has been chief executive of Version 1 since 2017, continuing to spearhead the business with growth ambitions now it has Partners Group involved.

Version 1 has seen its revenues increase in the five years that Volpi has been involved, now reporting €240m. The business has made it clear that it is working towards a goal of doubling those revenues to beyond €400m by 2026. It has a staff of 2,100, with offices in Ireland, the UK, India and Spain. The terms of the deal with Partners Group were not disclosed.

The channel player has been steadily expanding through acquisition, sealing its first UK deal back in 2013, and has made 13 in total, with Northern Ireland-headquartered digital services specialist Neueda its most recent last year.

“We thank Volpi Capital for their important and supportive role that has enabled Version 1 triple in size over the past five years,” said O’Connor.

“Partners Group’s sectoral knowledge and international reach will be as important to Version 1 as their investment and endorsement of our growth strategy. We are also pleased for our customers and staff, who will benefit as we continue to grow and add more great people to the Version 1 team.”

Kim Nguyen, partner, co-head private equity services at Partners Group, said the business recognised that Version 1 was operating in a growing market and would support its future ambitions.

“We have been tracking Version 1 through our thematic focus on digital transformation,” he said. “Based on our investment and value creation track record related to this theme, we value Version 1’s strong leadership team, differentiated offering, and operations which are reflected by excellent customer and employee satisfaction scores, and impressive organic growth.

“The company is well positioned to capitalise on the tailwinds driving increased digitisation across both the private and public sector and we have conviction in its growth prospects. We look forward to working with Version 1’s ambitious management team on our value creation plan.”

Crevan O’Grady, partner at Volpi Capital, said the business his firm was exiting had a strong platform for growth and the management team that remained in place would be able to guide it forward. If it gets the necessary approval, the deal is expected to complete by mid-2022.

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