becom was established in Germany more than 20 years ago as a reseller of IBM hardware, software and services. Its main customers were medium and large German corporations, as well as public bodies.
By 2001 becom had grown to be the number 4 IBM reseller in Germany by sales but the first to be awarded Platinum partner status by IBM, because of its focus on services. At that point, becom was owned by a large American computer leasing group. Financial troubles at the parent company prompted the becom management team to seek a funder for their management buy-out. The management team had decided they needed a financing partner who understood the German business landscape but had an international perspective.
The Big Idea
The plan was to grow the company organically and by acquisition, taking it to a leading position in its market. In addition to a modest amount of bank debt, we put in place an acquisition facility at the time of our investment to guarantee funds for these expansion plans.
The Grand Plan
We opened a series of sales and service offices throughout Germany and recruited a number of teams to run them. becom was the company that ambitious IT professionals wanted to join, making formal corporate acquisitions unnecessary in most cases, although we made an acquisition of 25 staff and a database of active customers.
The Bottom Line
Sales and profits more than doubled during Primary’s ownership. becom was sold to a Dutch trade buyer in July 2004 returning 4.6x the cost of investment.
Date of investment: July 2001
Deal status: Realised
Date of realisation: July 2004
Investment return multiple: 4.6x cost
For more information talk to: Graham Heddle or Neil Wallace