DATAFIRST and I’Car Systems announce their intent to join forces to become the leading software developer in France and a major player in Europe for Cars & Trucks dealers and manufacturers.
Paris, Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, Lyon – April 13th, 2018
DATAFIRST and I’Car Systems, software developers and providers of services to automotive and trucks vehicle dealers, announce today their intent to team up.
The aim is to become the French sector leader and a major player in Europe, with 50,000 users.
The majority ownership of the new entity would be held by the private equity fund Argos Soditic, already majority shareholder of I’Car Systems, alongside the managers of the two companies.
The execution of this is subject to finalisation of the information and consulting process of the personnel representative bodies.
Aim of the operation
The aim of the operation is to create a major player that would cover all automotive manufacturers and brands over an expanded area of 12 countries across the world (mainly on the European continent).
A global offer would then be proposed to answer all customer needs with integrated management software packages (DMS), management of spare part platforms (PR), customer relationship management (CRM), business intelligence applications and performance management, digital solutions and managed services.
The operation would allow the group to support the digital transformation and fundamental changes in the automotive industry. In addition it would encourage the growth in distribution groups with an aggressive innovation strategy, the increase in production capacity, reducing time to market, and improve the return on investment of the offer as a result of an expanded customer base.
« The arrival of new entrants, the evolution of technology and consumer habits, the issues linked to mobility are revolutionizing business models and services established in the automotive and trucks vehicle manufacturers and their dealers networks. Our project to join forces would enable us to better support these changes and to improve speed of execution thanks to an expanded base of experienced collaborators and reinforced financial means with the support of our shareholder, Argos Soditic. » announces Philippe Almouzni, current President of I’Car Systems, and future CEO of the potential new group.
Patrick Prajs would take general management of DATAFIRST by replacing its founder and chairman Jules Arié Tolédano, who has decided to commit to new projects, and states: “33 years after the creation of DATAFIRST, I am pleased to contribute to the alliance with I’Car Systems, two companies united by their business, their history, their culture and their size. Two players that will also strengthen one another to better serve their clients with an extended product offering, referencing alongside car makers and wider geographical coverage.”
Karel Kroupa, partner at Argos Soditic: “our ambition with this project is to give additional means to I’Car Systems and DATAFIRST in order to capitalize on their respective strengths and take a step forward in terms of development.”
Once the operation is finalised, the two developers’ products would still be marketed separately by each player and the evolution of the product offer would continue within the new entity.
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DATAFIRST develops and deploys modular management, marketing and sales solutions for the automotive market: Automotive CRM, Automotive DMS, Web & Business Intelligence solutions. DATAFIRST was founded in 1985 and today has over 150 employees. The company headquarters are in Lyon and it maintains an active global presence with several tens of thousands of users throughout Europe. Indeed, to widen the range of services on offer, DATAFIRST has built strategic alliances with local partners who are themselves specialists in the automotive distribution sector.
Renowned leader in its markets, DATAFIRST anticipates the technological evolutions and successive mutations of its ecosystem for an optimal sustainability alongside its users, vehicle Manufacturers and Dealers and partners.
The company has generated 16.6 million euros revenues in 2017, including 11% out of France.
About I’Car Systems Group
I’Car Systems is a software editor, that proposes management solutions for car repairers (agents and registered repairers) as well as for franchised dealers and distribution groups. Created in 1979, I’Car Systems, which was integrated to the Sage group from 2005 has regained its independence in 2013 thanks to its acquisition by the French Private Equity fund Argos Soditic, majority shareholder, alongside the management of the company. I’Car Systems generated 14.3 million euros of revenues in 2017, including 23% out of France. The company has 155 collaborators split between its headquarters in Saint-Pierre-des-Corps (Indre-et-Loire, 37) and its subsidiaries in Spain and Portugal.
About Argos Soditic
Argos Soditic is an independent European private equity group based in Brussels, Frankfort, Geneva, Luxembourg, Milan and Paris, that is supporting buyouts of SMEs with turnover of €20m to 600m. Argos Soditic supports management teams in place (buyout) or newly recruited (buy-in) and takes take majority stakes and invest between €10m and €100m.
Since its creation in 1989, Argos Soditic has invested in more than 75 businesses in the European mid-market, giving the group in-depth industry insight and strong experience in various situations: international expansion, external acquisitions, divestments or changes to business models. With 960 M€ under management, dedicated to company transmission, the group develops an original investment strategy based on complex operations, that favours transformation and growth of companies over a leverage effect. Its entrepreneurial approach allows Argos Soditic to work closely with management teams to support them in the implementation of their strategic projects.
Advisors on the operation
Advisors to DATAFIRST
Legal: Ernst & Young (Jean-Christophe Sabourin, Patrice Mottier)
Advisors to I’Car Systems – Argos Soditic
I’Car Systems (Philippe Almouzni)
Argos Soditic (Karel Kroupa, Nicolas Trani, Antoine Forgeard)
M&A: PwC Corporate Finance (Geoffroy Pacault, Salim Berkaïne, Charles Recape)
Finance: Grant Thornton (Frédéric Zeitoun, Jonathan Delangle)
Legal: Bryan Cave (Rémy Blain, Mathieu Taupin, Stanislas Boyer, François Alambret)
Tax: Arsène Taxand (Franck Chaminade, Vincent Briand, Blandine Trabut-Cussac)
IP: Feral-Schuhl / Sainte-Marie (Bruno Grégoire Sainte Marie, Richard Willemant)