Interview Transcript

The private equity players came in and, clearly, they saw room to roll up different software businesses. Was growth slower in the core business? What was the rationale for the buy and build strategy?

One of the drivers, in private equity, is to find what they call a platform business. Access is a classic platform business. We provided core accounting functions, such as payroll, purchase ledger, purchase ordering, procure to pay, general ledger and finance, with some other things that we had already built ourselves, which helped us stay inside of business, once we’d caught them, as a customer. We were a classic platform because, if you think about, an ERP system like that, you can add all kinds of things.

You can go down the employee health and safety route, HR, absence tracking. You can look at where that business has a concentration of customers. For example, we had a concentration of customers in the charity sector, so we then looked to go out and find software that assisted charities, which we could integrate with our own, to make it one offering. That’s why the private equity route was a good route. The easier route would have been a trade sell, but you take the money and you run. With a private equity, you don’t take any money. In fact, you lend them money. Actually, they lend you money, to lend to them. That’s the way it works, but the returns are much higher and the risks are, of course, higher.

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