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Vancouver fintech Beanworks to be acquired for $105m

Deal marks latest in string of acquisitions of B.C. tech companies
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Another high-growth Vancouver tech company is set to be acquired — this time in a deal worth about $105 million.

French enterprise services firm Quadient SA ADR revealed Monday it’s buying a 96% stake in B.C.’s Beanworks Solutions Inc. for what it describes as “slightly above” €70 million.

The new parent company said “two key leaders” will retain a minority stake in Beanworks following the all-cash deal, although Quadient has an option of completely acquiring the Vancouver company in the coming years.

Beanworks specializes in accounts payable software and was B.C.’s eighth-fastest growing company in 2020 with five-year revenue growth of 725%.

Founded in 2012, it has a headcount of about 90 workers and revenue is projected to reach about $10 million by year’s end.

"By combining our expertise with Quadient’s global reach, R&D firepower and investments in artificial intelligence technology, we will continue to live out our mission to support accounting teams everywhere," Beanworks CEO Catherine Dahl said in a statement.

Quadient said it plans to boost expansion of Beanworks’ software offerings by cross-selling them to its 500,000 global customers.

The acquisition deal is just  the latest in a string of recent exits for Vancouver-based tech firms.

To most notable so far this year has been New York-based Diligent Corp.’s US$1-billion acquisition of Galvanize (ACL Services Ltd.).

The past year of COVID-19 has resulted in a massive accumulation of private equity funding worth trillions as well as significant sums of cash on the balance sheet for corporations, according to David Raffa, president of Valeo Corporate Finance Ltd.

B.C.-based technology companies look especially primed for consolidations and acquisitions in the coming months, he said.

Raffa noted Vancouver’s proximity to tech hubs like Silicon Valley and Seattle, its access to top-tier universities and the large talent pool paid in Canadian dollars at lower comparable salaries than their American counterparts has been drawing attention from firms.

“It’s a good time to buy when valuations have been reduced and your cash [is] flush. So those things – plus the opening up of the credit markets and continued low interest rates – those are the macro levels that are going to drive M&A,” he told BIV last month.

Meanwhile, the Beanworks deal comes just days after the province appointed its new chairman for Innovate BC, the Crown agency charged with facilitating growth in the province’s tech sector.

Andrew Petter, the former president of Simon Fraser University, said on Friday top priorities facing the province’s tech sector include attracting talent, scaling startups into larger firm and then retaining those anchor companies so that “they can see a future in British Columbia and not simply be acquired and taken offshore.”

“If we can knit together some of the capacities we have in our universities in our business community and amongst the startup community … we can make real headway,” he told BIV.

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