This week we heard that Capita and Xchanging had agreed on the terms of a recommended cash offer of 160 pence per share. The offer values Xchanging at approximately £412m. If it goes ahead, the acquisition would be Capita’s largest ever; it is 260% bigger than its previous largest acquisition, that of avocis for £157m in February 2015.
Capita’s newly found appetite for larger acquisitions marks a noticeable change in approach between the current CEO, Andy Parker, and his predecessor, Paul Pindar. While Pindar went for niche acquisitions, Parker is going for accelerated inorganic growth.
If this bid goes through, it will impact Capita’s business in the following ways:
Significant leg-up in Insurance BPO: Xchanging is something of a jewel in the insurance sector due to its golden relationship with Lloyds of London as well as insurance sector specific technologies such as Xuber. Insurance services accounts for the larger part of revenue at circa 60%. For some time now Capita has been talking about growth in the insurance sector, setting the scene for more of its M&A activity. It has previously stated, “Where premium growth remains modest, (insurance) firms are focused on improving operational efficiency and organisational flexibility, areas Capita is well placed to help them address.” Before it made the offer for Xchanging, Capita had expanded its insurance capabilities through the acquisition of SouthWestern. This brought it 700 skilled, multi-lingual FTEs at two sites, Krakow and Lodz, providing services to insurance, finance and legal administration, and customer management across Northern Europe. Another relevant and recent acquisition was that of tricontes in 2014. The £6.2m acquisition of the Munich-based company in June 2014 brought Capita specialist contact centre services for various sectors including the insurance sector in Germany.
Bigger play in the private sector business: The split between Capita’s public and private sector business has always stayed roughly around 50:50 with annual variations of plus or minus 5%. In 2014 Capita’s private sector business was £2273.6 and accounted for 52% of revenues. With revenues of £406.8m in 2014, Xchanging could boost Capita’s private sector business by as much as 18% – a significant growth.
Entry into potentially lucrative BPO segments: Xchanging has good capabilities in the fast growing Procurement Outsourcing (PO) and Capital Markets BPO. Our analysis shows that both market segments are growing upwards of 10% CAGR. Further, these are specialized BPO segments and hence less prone to commoditization. However, to fully capitalize on the potential, Capita would have to address recent issues with Xchanging’s PO business.
Geographic diversification: This acquisition would help Capita expand its market presence beyond the UK. Some of the key countries where it could help Capita are Italy, Germany, and the U.S. While the scale may not be big, it can provide Capita a base upon which to build its international business. Further, continental Europe is a specialized market, which may not be the easiest to penetrate for an external service provider. Xchanging, with its multiple contracts in Germany, can help Capita in its entry in that geography.
Greater global sourcing leverage: Capita has around 5,000-6,000 FTEs in offshore location. This acquisition offers the potential of increasing this number by 20-25% primarily in India.
Clearly, this acquisition can help accelerate Capita’ growth and capabilities in multiple ways. However, as with any acquisition, successful integration will be key to harness the potential including effectively addressing recent issues.
Capita is not the only service provider to be eying growth in the insurance sector. With this bid, Capita’s acquisitive culture is set to give it an edge over the others.
For our previous coverage of Capita’s growth strategy see “Capita’s German Gambit.”