2020 Acquisition update: international growth in times of COVID-19

Mar 16, 2021
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2020 will be remembered as an exceptional year. On many levels, it has proven extremely challenging for all of us. Dealing with COVID-19 - social distancing, lockdowns, working from home, and homeschooling - has profoundly impacted our lives and the usual way of doing business.

International growth covering 8 European countries

Despite the context, we are very excited that 16 new software companies from 8 European countries joined Total Specific Solutions (“TSS”) in 2020. We strengthened our positions in Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Spain. We entered two new territories: The United Kingdom with the acquisition of Biomedical Data Solutions and Iceland, where dk Hugbúnaður joined us. And with the acquisition of Quality Positioning Services (“QPS”) from the Swedish listed conglomerate Saab, we have entered the maritime vertical. All other 2020 acquisitions were in verticals where TSS already had domain knowledge.

Joining forces with Topicus in preparation of Topicus.com Inc.

In May, we announced the intention to merge with Topicus and spin-out of Constellation Software. As of February 2021, the combination is a fact, and shares of the combined entity (Topicus.com) have started trading on the Toronto Venture Exchange. The combination of Topicus and TSS will create a big step forward in our ambition of further growing our Pan-European vertical market software group. The new European holding Topicus.com consists of three autonomously run operating groups: TSS Public, TSS Blue, and Topicus. Each has its own focus and strengths contributing to the overall success.

Our first steps into Poland

Finally, we announced in December our intention to acquire and take private Polish’ listed vertical market software platform Simple SA. The company has a strong position in education and healthcare verticals, as well as a broad range of customers in production, trade, and service enterprises. In January 2021, we launched the public tender, and in early March, we successfully completed the tender offer and acquired the anticipated majority of Simple SA shares.

With lockdowns and travel restrictions across Europe, M&A markets took a big hit in 2020 in terms of deal activity and uncertainty across the board. We are proud that many VMS companies joined the TSS family and have chosen TSS as their permanent home, especially during these times. Our dedication and acquisition strategy made it possible to deliver a high level of deal certainty and continue the dialogue with VMS companies. The sharing of best practices and knowledge is part of our DNA; it strengthens our autonomously operated VMS companies and makes them feel part of the group.

We look forward to continuing our international growth ambitions in 2021. 2020 Acquisitions
  • Finland Finland
    • Futunio Associations
  • France France
    • Alcuin Education
    • Tribofilm Manufacturing / Local government
  • Germany Germany
    • DOBRICK + WAGNER Social affairs
    • EasySoft Healthcare / Education
    • IQDoQ Healthcare / Logistics
  • Iceland Iceland
    • dk Hugbúnaður SME / Accounting
  • Netherlands Netherlands
    • BCT Local government / Healthcare
    • QPS Maritime
    • Reflecta Retail
    • Vlot solutions Healthcare
  • Spain Spain
    • Spyro Manufacturing
  • Sweden Sweden
    • Evolution Commerce Retail
    • Ping Pong Education
    • Prek Real estate
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom
    • Biomedical Data Solutions Healthcare
dk Hugbúnaður
  • Acquisition Date December 3, 2020
  • Vertical market SME, Accounting
  • Location Kópavogur, Iceland

dk software offers cloud-based business software for more than 5,000 clients across multiple verticals in Iceland, making it the respective market leader in its segment. The company was established in 1998 and joined TSS after a swift process at the end of 2020.

Magnús Pálsson, Managing Director at dk Hugbúnaður: “TSS believes in perpetual ownership, which is very important to us and our staff. Our company will be run as an independent business unit, which means that the legacy of our business can continue growing into the future.”

BCT Software
  • Acquisition Date December 3, 2020
  • Vertical market Local Government, Healthcare, Corporations
  • Location Sittard, the Netherlands

BCT Software is a leading Dutch specialist in information management for local government, healthcare, and corporations, and has offices in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. BCT has a rich history in the Dutch (semi) government sector which it built upon in the past 35 years. The first contact between BCT and TSS was already established many years ago.

Dimitri Palmen, Managing Director of BCT Holding: “After 35 years as a family-owned software company, we are ready for the next step as BCT by joining TSS as an independent company. It will be an exciting new step, going from 140 to over 3,000 new colleagues across Europe. Becoming part of TSS will help us continue our growth as one of the most experienced and professional companies in our segment.”

  • Acquisition Date August 4, 2020
  • Vertical market Maritime
  • Location Zeist, the Netherlands

QPS is the global niche leader in maritime geomatics software and services and is acquired from Saab AB, the Swedish defense-, aerospace- and maritime conglomerate. Considered non-core within Saab’s portfolio of activities, the divestment will allow both Saab AB and QPS to prioritize strategically. Deal certainty offered by TSS during the process was a positive factor in this process.

Almar Hollaar, Managing Director at QPS East: “TSS will provide us new best practices on running Vertical Market Software companies. And by joining TSS, who has the ‘Software for Life’ strategy, we can continue to be a leader in our industry in the future.”

Becoming part of TSS

TSS operates a decentralized business model, meaning that the different companies retain a high level of business autonomy while benefitting from certain centralized services and expertise, such as finance and M&A. Our 'Software for Life' philosophy entails that we support the management of the businesses through best practices allowing them to ensure the relevance of their software solutions for their end markets. Our best practices assist them in developing and improving their software continuously, implementing the necessary changes to comply with the new market or legislative requirements, and ensuring that the needed technological advancements are based on customer-driven needs. Furthermore, within TSS, we are focused extensively on talent development and organizational improvement. We aim to provide all our employees with a challenging working environment and ample career opportunities for our highly skilled specialists.

TSS is continuously seeking new opportunities to add value to our existing vertical markets and geographies and is equally excited to explore new verticals and geographies when great opportunities present themselves. We work with high levels of confidentiality and discretion.

For further information, please contact the M&A team active in your geography via our acquisitions page.