Australian billing firm Hansen buys Sigma Systems for $117m

Australian billing firm Hansen buys Sigma Systems for $117m

Tim Spencer Sigma Systems.jpg

Telecoms software company Sigma Systems is being bought by an Australian company, Hansen Technologies, for the equivalent of $117 million.

Hansen specialises in billing, data management and customer care solutions for utilities and telecoms.

“We’re going to keep our identity and we’ll be driving scale with the business – not just telecoms but energy, utilities and media,” Sigma Systems CEO Tim Spencer (pictured) told Capacity this morning.

Hansen is a public company in Australia but the deal, announced today, will not need a shareholders’ vote “as it is funded with debt”, said Spencer. According to a filing with the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), RBC Capital Markets has loaned A$225 million (US $158 million). The deal will close on 31 May.

Sigma Systems is owned by Canadian investor Birch Hill Equity Partners, which bought the operation four years ago. “Four years is less than normal but it was the right opportunity,” Spencer told Capacity.

Andrew Hansen, CEO of Hansen Technologies since 1990, said: “Over the course of the last ten years, we have driven an exceptional growth strategy through acquisitions, achieving a compound annual growth rate of 28% over the last four years.”

Hansen will be looking for more expansion opportunities, Spencer added.

Hansen will pay C$157 million (A$166 million), for the Toronto-based company, which has 480 staff and 70 customers including Liberty Global, Telstra, Vodafone, Inmarsat, Telkomsel, Altice and Cox Communications.

According to the statement to the ASX, Sigma Systems’ revenue last year was C$73 million, with EBITDA of C$18.8 million.

Spencer, formerly with the mobile division of Bell Canada, joined Sigma in 1996 as CTO and became CEO in 2003 after a short break at another company. Its major acquisition was of UK-based Tribold in 2013.

“I’m still the CEO and the executive team remains in place,” Spencer told Capacity. “We will continue to focus on the core parts of our cloud-first strategy.” Sigma Systems will be able to market to Hansen’s customer base, he said. “We’re going to be a separate business unit.”

The deal was driven by Spencer’s contact with Hansen through the industry, he said. “We found we weren’t really competitive and we were very well aligned. We have some customers in common.”

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