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Concentrix’s $4.8 billion acquisition of Webhelp


Vice President: Aaron Cohen Analysts: Fynn Hirrlinger, Leonardo Bassino, Manav Sood, Riyaad Uddin, Seun Adeleye


Deal Overview


Acquirer: Concentrix Corporation

Acquiree: Webhelp SAS

Deal Size: $4.8 billion

Buy Side Advisors: JPMorgan (financial); Pillsbury Winthrow Shaw Pittman (legal)

Sell Side advisors: Goldman Sachs, Sycamore Corporate Finance, Altamoda, Alvarez & Marsal Holdings (financial); Latham & Watkins, Kirkland & Ellis, Gide Loyrette Nouel (legal)


Concentrix Corp Overview


Concentrix Corporation is a California-based customer experience (CX) solutions and technology provider that design, run and build CX for over 130 Fortune Global 500 and 125 new economy clients (Concentrix, 2023). The firm creates innovative solutions to help businesses achieve their goals and surpass the expectations of their customers each time they interact. The company is no stranger to being involved in acquisition deals, growing through various deals over the years. One of the most notable acquisitions was the acquisition of IBM Customer Care Business in 2014, which allowed Concentrix to expand its reach into 12 more industries and made it a top 10 player in a growing market (Kuranda, 2013). The deal to acquire Webhelp looks to be its most exciting yet; the similar culture, capacities, and goals of the two companies helps to solidify the claim that the synergies will be exceedingly valuable for the company moving forward.


Webhelp Overview


Webhelp is a Parisian firm that “design, deliver and optimize unforgettable human experiences for today’s digital world” (MyCustomer, 2023). With a team of consultants across more than 60 countries around the world, they provide top notch expertise, ranging from sales to marketing to social media engagement, with the aim of taking businesses to the next level. Just like Concentrix, Webhelp has played a part in many acquisition deals before being acquired itself. The company purchased Falkirk call centre firm HEROtsc in 2013 and acquired the Scandinavian customer experience firm GoExcellent in 2016, the latter paving the way for the introduction of Webhelp Nordic, which was the key driver in Webhelp’s projected 2016 turnover of around $1 billion (Webhelp, 2016).


Deal Structure


As part of this deal, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year (subject to customary closing conditions), Webhelp will be compensated via 14.9 million shares of Concentrix, a €700 million note payable in two years, as well as $542 million of cash. The €700 million note will bear an interest rate of 2% and includes a right to earn an additional 750k shares of Concentrix if the Concentrix share price reaches $170 within 7 years from the closing of the transaction. The combined company after the deal will be owned in majority by Concentrix shareholders, who will own approximately 78% of the combined company, whilst the Webhelp shareholders will have a share in the remaining equity. Additionally, Webhelp’s targeted net debt (approximately €1.55 billion) will be refinanced when the transaction is finalised.


Concentrix’s CEO Chris Caldwell will be the man to lead the charge for the combined company as it looks to use the synergies from this deal to rival its competitors in a $550 billion expanded marketplace, whilst also impacting the industry’s future landscape. Ian Galliene, the CEO of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (majority stakeholder in Webhelp for 4 years), highlighted how the combined entity will be a force to be reckoned with, and that it will be perfectly positioned to “create substantial value for all stakeholders” (Morgan, 2021).


Industry Analysis


Concentrix Corporation and Webhelp both operate in the technology industry, but more specifically in the digital customer experience (CX) and business performance sector. With 70% of consumers spending more with companies providing personalised customer experiences (Zendesk, 2023), enhancing customer experiences is of increased strategic importance, with the CX market forecasted to display a CAGR of 16.6% to a size of $52.54 billion by 2030 (Fortune Business Insights, 2023).


Customer Service BPO Magic Quadrant 2022

Source: Gartner, 2023


Gartner’s Magic Quadrant shows 17 BPOs and identifies them as leaders, challengers, visionaries and niche players. Gartner identified Webhelp as a leader in the BPO industry in 2022, which means it has a complete vision that it is able to execute efficiently; this helps to explain why acquiring Webhelp was such an industry-shifting statement by Concentrix.


This is a particularly lucrative industry due to how important it is for businesses to enhance their customers’ experience – after all, customers are how they drive revenues. Improving CX by one point can lead to more than 1 billion dollars in additional revenue (Morgan, 2021), and so companies like Concentrix and Webhelp are in demand by businesses to maximise their earnings and deliver consistent, fast, and top-quality customer end-to-end experience. The market for business process outsourcing (BPO) is expected to reach a value of 525.2 billion dollars by 2030 (GVR, 2022), with CX outsourcing expected to play a huge role in increasing this valuation over the next couple of years. Contact centres and other sectors of the business dedicated to customer service usually experience high levels of turnover and face difficulties in trying to plug the holes in this area of their workforce. Using CX outsourcing allows companies to access expertise that will more than satisfy their customers, whilst also not having to deal with the headache that comes with constantly going through hiring processes for new talent. Furthermore, the demand for CX outsourcing has heightened due to the rise in technological advancements. Cloud-based technology makes it much easier and more affordable than ever before for companies to send over tools and data to CX experts. CX experts have a number of ways that they can help to transform a company, usually possessing a wider array of tools and more advanced analytics that ensure customers are never left wanting more.


However, with a lucrative market, there will always be a large amount of competition accompanying it. The CX outsourcing market is no different to this. Concentrix acquiring fellow BPO Webhelp is not the only acquisition that has been made within this sector – Sitel merged with Sykes in 2021 to form Foundever, whilst Indian powerhouse HGS absorbed Teklink International just a few months ago. Despite this Concentrix deal being the largest in the CX space thus far, this shows that competition is fierce in this space, and judging by this deal, the acquisitions in the CX industry seem to be far from over. Everest Group estimates that the deal will allow Concentrix to boast a market share between 6-8% (Baweja, 2023), shifting it firmly into the forefront of the space along with companies such as Foundever and Teleperformance.


Deal Rationale


The acquisition of Webhelp by Concentrix represents a significant milestone for both companies, as they join forces with aligned cultures, capabilities, and visions. Chris Caldwell, President and CEO of Concentrix, will lead the combined organization, which is expected to have $9.8 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2023 (Reuters, 2023).

This strategic move brings compelling benefits to Concentrix and sets the stage for accelerated growth in the dynamic customer experience (CX) market.


Revenue Synergies


While cost synergies are important, the primary driver of this acquisition lies in the substantial revenue synergies that can be realized. The combination of Concentrix and Webhelp expands Concentrix's client base and market reach, diversifying its portfolio and strengthening its presence in Europe, Latin America, and Africa (Reuters, 2023).

Webhelp's extensive client roster, including more than 25 Fortune Global 500 companies and over 200 new economy clients, will significantly augment Concentrix's marquee client list (Concentrix, 2023). This expanded client base, totalling approximately 2,000 clients, will contribute to revenue growth and market dominance. Additionally, Webhelp's predominantly non-North American client base will provide Concentrix with an opportunity to expand its domestic sales presence into 12 additional countries. (Concentrix, 2023)

The acquisition also enables Concentrix to tap into Webhelp's digital capabilities and broaden its service offerings. By combining their expertise, the combined organization will be better positioned to meet the evolving needs of clients in various strategic verticals. This expansion of high-value services and digital capabilities will drive revenue growth and profitability (Webhelp, 2023).


Cost Synergies


The integration of Webhelp and Concentrix unlocks substantial cost synergies for both companies. Concentrix, already a leader in the CX market, will further enhance its position with the addition of Webhelp's expertise in Europe, Latin America, and Africa (Reuters, 2023). By leveraging Concentrix's vast resources and operational scale, Webhelp will gain access to larger facilities, benefiting from economies of scale and reducing its production costs (Concentrix, 2023). This synergy is expected to boost Webhelp's gross margin, complementing its already healthy profitability.

Furthermore, the consolidation of teams and streamlining of operations between Webhelp and Concentrix can generate additional cost synergies. With both companies operating in similar markets, there is likely to be overlapping expertise that can be optimized. This could potentially result in job cuts as the organizations merge teams, driving efficiency and profitability.


Enhanced Scale

Concentrix's acquisition strategy aligns with its history of incorporating complementary brands into its portfolio and leveraging its industry expertise to scale them up globally. By harnessing the cost and revenue synergies resulting from this deal, Concentrix aims to position Webhelp as a valuable addition to its extensive portfolio. (Concentrix, 2023)

In summary, the Webhelp-Concentrix acquisition offers significant strategic benefits, including enhanced market position, client diversification, expanded global footprint, and increased service capabilities. Through the realization of cost and revenue synergies, Concentrix aims to drive long-term growth, solidifying its status as a leader in the CX market.


Deal Valuation and Financial Analysis


Concentrix Financial Analysis

Key Financials (in USD) (as of 17/07/2023)


Webhelp Financial Analysis

Key Financials (in USD) (as of 17/07/2023)


Comparable Company Analysis


Precedent Transaction Analysis


Precedent Transactions


Snap’s acquisition of Vertebrae

Vertebrae is a 3D and AR commerce firm, and its acquisition allowed Snap to provide customers with improved AR content (Wassel & Esposito, 2021), with this being useful for retailers for example who could now ‘activate AR shopping experiences.’ 100% of equity ownership was acquired in this deal, with it being completed on the 19th of July 2021. It is likely that Snap will continue to acquire different firms, especially with the growth of AI, as well as its desire to continue expanding (with a current market cap value of around $19.3B).


Qualtrics’ acquisition of Clarabridge


A $1.1B deal in 2021 saw Experience Management provider Qualtrics acquire Clarabridge. This deal will improve the acquirer’s service in helping firms to query their customers and workers for the betterment of their overall company (Qualtrics, 2021). Qualtrics will be able to utilise Clarabridge’s AI platform which allows the analysing of feedback from various sources to ensure they are improving as a company to an even higher standard now. 100% of equity ownership was acquired within this lump sum financial transaction.


Walmart’s acquisition of Zeekit


Walmart’s acquisition of the virtual clothing try-on start-up Zeekit has allowed them to introduce new technology for the improvement of their services to customers. The ‘Choose My Model’ experience for example has been created to make it easier for customers to choose the perfect outfit for themselves by utilising models who best represent their characteristics. The deal terms were not disclosed (Perez, 2021).

Discounted Cash Flow Analysis


The assumptions of this valuation are all based on the equal-weighted average, or weighted average, of metrics from companies that operate in a similar way to Webhelp, with similar characteristics in terms of size, geography, and business model (any substantial difference has been adjusted to mitigate outlier data). The revenues have been obtained assuming a β of 1.104 on the industry’s revenue yearly-changes. A sales CAGR has been assumed FY 2019-2023, being the 2019 Revenue the only reliable company metric available through the public, provided by Groupe Bruxelles Lambert which had investments in Webhelp at the time.

The WACC and TGR have been derived through COMPS and companies that operate in the IT Consulting division. The WACC has been adjusted up assuming a flow of capital from Concentrix in the future, as well as an increase in D/E ratio that would generate from he rise of liabilities following the M&A Operation.

Due to the nature of the firm, Cash Flow items tend to be small percentages of Sales. However, some of the slices have been increased following the time of the acquisition, taking for granted that a series of investments and a light Capex-cycle would start. Being Webhelp not part of a capital-intensive sector, with PP&E being relatively low on the Balance Sheet, these metrics still lead to minor cash outflows.


Risks


Long term difficulties

Despite this acquisition strengthening Concentrix’s presence in the CX market, with an expected market share of 6-8%, critics argue that this is likely to lead to an increased scale and size of call centres, and not necessarily any significant technological advancements. Traditional people based CX services are stagnant in growth at a below inflation figure of 4%, while digital CX services are disrupting the $125 billion market with over 12% growth. In a market where firms are seeking to cut down on wage costs and reap the rewards of automation, Concentrix’s success may not sustain in the long-term if it doesn’t prioritise broadening into higher value-added areas such as autonomous digital delivery (O’Brien, 2023).


Threat from IT firms


With the expertise and tech capabilities to automate customer contact, connect integration points and strengthen the security of data repositories, IT firms are emerging as challengers in the CX market. This has resulted in a number of strategic acquisitions, such as the acquisition of IT firm Xavient by TELUS International, supporting its double-digit growth. These acquisitions by rivals pose a threat to Concentrix, who may need to make similar acquisitions to compete with its rivals.


Mid-tier providers


In response to this trend of consolidation by major players in the CX market, and the resulting formation of a two-tier market, many mid-tier service providers may force price points even lower out of desperation to maintain market share, posing a threat to the margins of firms such as Concentrix. It is therefore essential that Concentrix focuses on justifying its increased scale with superior digital capabilities to mid-tier CX providers, enabling it to maintain its margins.


Conclusion


This acquisition presents numerous opportunities for the new entity to increase its operational scale, diversify its product offerings by leveraging Webhelps’s digital capabilities, as well as generate significant revenues by securing access to large clients across geographies such as those in the Fortune 500. Key trends indicate a rise in demand for CX outsourcing, necessitating developments in digital CX solutions to speed up customer response capabilities. Concentrix may look for inspiration from competitors such as SYKES, who’ve invested significantly in areas such as intelligent automation (IA), digital marketing and Robotic Processing Automation (RPA). By enhancing its IT capabilities to truly differentiate itself from competitors, it can exploit its scale to move with the growth of autonomous digital delivery.


References


  1. O’Brien, P.F., Melissa (2023). Concentrix doubles down on Webhelp to dominate traditional call center... despite autonomous CX changing the narrative. [online] Horses for Sources | No Boundaries. Available at: https://www.horsesforsources.com/concentrix-acquires-webhelp_040823/ [Accessed 16 Jul. 2023].

  2. Concentrix (2023). Concentrix to Combine with Webhelp, Creating a Diversified Global CX Leader, Well-Positioned for Growth. [online] Concentrix. Available at: https://www.concentrix.com/about/news/concentrix-to-combine-with-webhelp-creating-a-diversified-global-cx-leader-well-positioned-for-growth/ [Accessed 16 Jul. 2023].

  3. Kuranda, S. (2013). IBM To Sell CRM, BPO Business To Synnex Subsidiary For $505M. [online] CRN. Available at: https://www.crn.com/news/channel-programs/240161104/ibm-to-sell-crm-bpo-business-to-synnex-subsidiary-for-505m.htm [Accessed 16 Jul. 2023].

  4. MyCustomer. (2023). Webhelp. [online] Available at: https://www.mycustomer.com/webhelp [Accessed 16 Jul. 2023].

  5. Webhelp (2016). Webhelp.com | Webhelp reaches US$1bn turnover with acquisition of leading Scandinavian customer experience company. [online] Webhelp.com. Available at: https://webhelp.com/news/webhelp-acquires-scandinavian-goexcellent/ [Accessed 16 Jul. 2023].

  6. Morgan, B. (2021). 10 Stats That Show The Power Of The CX Industry. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2021/08/16/10-stats-that-show-the-power-of-the-cx-industry/?sh=354e63031780 [Accessed 16 Jul. 2023].

  7. Zendesk (2023) The Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2023, CX Trends 2023. Available at: https://cxtrends.zendesk.com/ (Accessed: 17 July 2023).

  8. Fortune Business Insights (2023) Customer experience management market size & share, 2030, Customer Experience Management Market Size & Share, 2030. Available at: https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/industry-reports/customer-experience-management-cem-market-101661 (Accessed: 17 July 2023).

  9. Fortune Business Insights (2023) Customer experience management market size & share, 2030, Customer Experience Management Market Size & Share, 2030. Available at: https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/industry-reports/customer-experience-management-cem-market-101661 (Accessed: 17 July 2023).

  10. Grand View Research (2022). BPO Market Size Worth $405.6 Billion By 2027. [online] Available at: https://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-business-process-outsourcing-bpo-market.

  11. Baweja, D. (2023). Concentrix Acquires Webhelp: A Game Changer In The Global Customer Experience Management (CXM) Landscape | Blog %Concentrix Acquires Webhelp: A Game Changer In The Global Customer Experience Management (CXM) Landscape Page% - Everest Group. [online] Everest Group. Available at: https://www.everestgrp.com/uncategorized/https-www-everestgrp-com-uncategorized-concentrix-acquires-webhelp-a-game-changer-in-the-global-customer-experience-management-cxm-landscape-blog-html.html [Accessed 16 Jul. 2023].

  12. Forsta (2021). Forsta Partners with Lumoa to Deliver Powerful, AI-Driven Analytics To CX, EX and Market Research Professionals. Cision PR Newswire, 1st November.

  13. Perez, S. (2021). Walmart acquires virtual clothing try-on startup Zeekit. [Online] Available at: https://techcrunch.com/2021/05/13/walmart-acquires-virtual-clothing-try-on-startup-zeekit/ [Accessed 5th July 2023].

  14. Qualtrics (2021). Qualtrics Announces Definitive Agreement to Acquire Clarabridge. [Online] Available at: https://www.qualtrics.com/news/qualtrics-announces-definitive-agreement-to-acquire-clarabridge/ [Accessed 5th July 2023].

  15. Wassel, B. & Esposito, A. (2021). Snap Acquires Vertebrae to Enhance AR Capabilities. retailtouchpoints, 22 July.

  16. Concentrix. (29. March 2023). Concentrix to Combine with Webhelp, Creating a Diversified Global CX Leader, Well-Positioned for Growth. Available at: https://ir.concentrix.com/news-releases/news-release-details/concentrix-combine-webhelp-creating-diversified-global-cx-leader/ (Accessed 02.07.2023)

  17. Reuters. (30. March 2023). Concentrix looks beyond North AMerica with $4.8 bln deal for Webhelp. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/markets/deals/concentrix-acquire-webhelp-48-bln-deal-2023-03-29/ (Accessed 02.07.2023)

  18. Webhelp. (29. March 2023). Webhelp to Combine with Concentrix, Creating Global CX Leader, Well-Positioned for Growth. Available at: https://webhelp.com/news/webhelp-to-combine-with-concentrix-creating-global-cx-leader-well-positioned-for-growth/ (Accessed 02.07.2023)





The opinions expressed in the reports are those of the members of the Junior IB team and are not affiliated with any university or institution. The financial recommendations provided are for educational purposes only and the Junior IB team takes no responsibility for any losses that may occur from implementing any ideas presented in the reports. The Junior IB team is not authorized to provide investment advice. The information, opinions, and estimates presented in the reports reflect the Junior IB team's judgment at the time of publication and are subject to change without notice. The price, value, and income of any securities or financial instruments mentioned in the reports may fluctuate. The Junior IB team has no business relationship with any of the companies mentioned in the reports and does not receive any compensation for their inclusion.


Copyright © October 2023 | The Junior IB.

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