Aepona buys Swedish firm

A Belfast-based provider of telecom software products and services has strengthened its offering after buying a Swedish firm.


A Belfast-based provider of telecom software products and services has strengthened its offering after buying a Swedish firm.

A Belfast-based provider of telecom software products and services has strengthened its offering after buying a Swedish firm.

Aepona bought Appium, a Malmö-based technology company offering telecom application server and service creation environment products, for an undisclosed sum.

The company was sold by a consortium comprising Nordic Venture Partners, Innovationskapital and Innovacom.

The deal has created an international business serving organisations such as the France Telecom/Orange Group, BT, Sprint, Telus, Telefonica, KPN, Bharti, Telmex and Vimpelcom.

The combined entity will trade under the Aepona brand and headquartered in Belfast with the Malmö premises continuing as a development centre and regional sales office.

Aepona’s chairman, Gilbert Little, said there were several reasons to buy this company. “Service providers globally are set to invest heavily in this segment to satisfy the demand for rich, converged consumer and enterprise services.

“The two companies have complementary products, customers and channels to market, and the combined entity has the scale, intellectual assets and sales and marketing fire-power to fully capitalise on this exciting market opportunity,” he added.

Appium’s chief executive, Eric Lundquist, added that with this deal the company is entering a new phase.

“Customers of both companies will benefit from a more complete solution offering from a single entity, and the combined portfolio gives the merged company a much stronger proposition within the service layer market, enhancing our competitive position which will consequently drive significant revenue synergies.”

Aepona’s financial adviser was Centerboard Partners, an international technology and media-focused investment bank.

Its team was led by managing director Pietro Strada, who said this transaction fits well with Aepona’s strategy and complements its strong organic growth.

“It is the result of a strategic process to identify and approach the best targets, negotiate and structure a complex private-to-private deal,” he added. “We are delighted to have been able to work with Aepona during this entire process.”

The vendors received legal services on the disposal by a Vinge team led by partner Jesper Ottergren in the firm’s Malmö office. They received advice on Irish law from Arthur Cox in Dublin led by Colm Duggan and Paul Robinson.

Ottergren said the firm was chosen to co-ordinate the transaction as it is a long-standing adviser to Appium.

“Given that the transaction was made as a share for share deal, where Swedish shares were sold against payment in Irish shares, the transaction involved a high degree of complexity and extensive documentation,” he added.

The vendor’s financial adviser was Cartagena Capital, an international technology corporate finance firm.

Cartagena was approached by Appium in October to investigate strategic growth options for the business.

“Cartagena researched and approached various companies in Europe and the US to verify strategic interest and appetite for pursuing a transaction,” partner Kim Groop said.

He added that once the target had been identified, Cartagena managed the transaction process, which included preparing the investment documentation and the M&A strategy.

Marc Barber

Raven Connelly

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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