Apax adds SaaS provider ECi Software to portfolio

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Private equity advisory firm Apax Partners LLP is acquiring a majority stake in ECi Software Solutions, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) technology. The investment, which stems from the firm’s Apax Funds, comes as the target seeks to transition its software to the cloud.

ECi Software publishes business management and e-commerce software for small and medium-sized businesses. The Fort Worth, Texas-based target serves the distribution, field services, building, construction and manufacturing industries with resource planning tools. Concurrent with the deal, ECi Software will merge with Exact Software’s three ERP businesses: Macola, JobBOSS and MAX. Exact Software is a portfolio company of Apax. The Carlyle Group and Level Equity will retain a minority stake in the business. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Headquartered in New York and London, Apax is a private equity firm that has raised and advised more than $48 billion in assets under management since inception. The firm's investment, according to ECi Software, will expand the target’s SaaS offering in the manufacturing sector. Apax targets four sectors, which include: technology and telecommunications, business services, healthcare and consumer goods. The firm has had its fair share of middle-market deals. Apax has previously backed Answers Corp., and also owns retailer Rue21, which it bought in October 2013.

SaaS companies are continuing to drive tech deals throughout 2017, and are expected to continue, according to Mergers & Acquisitions’ Mid-Market Pulse (MMP). Other SaaS deals include: Centerbridge Partners’ acquisition of Syncsort and Vision Solutions; TA Associates’ agreement with the Carlyle Group (Nasdaq: CG) to acquire real-time monitoring software provider ITRS; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.’s (NYSE: HPE) deal to buy software company SimpliVity for $650 million in cash; Thoma Bravo’s deal to acquire software maker Planview.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP is serving as legal counsel to Apax, while Ernst & Young LLP is acting as financial adviser. Latham & Watkins LLP is serving as legal adviser to ECi Software, while BofA Merrill Lynch (NYSE: BAC) and PwC are serving as financial advisers.

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