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Customer experience mergers, acquisitions, and funding

M&A and Funding: Sitel Group, Webhelp, Enghouse, and LeadSquared

Acquired Companies Include Majorel Group, Grupo Services, and Competella

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Two large mergers and acquisitions are profiled in this roundup. In the first, US-based Sitel Group is moving to merge with Majorel, located in tiny but affluent Luxembourg in Western Europe. When completed, the merger will result in a colossus with massive resources, capital, and access to CX markets worldwide. The second is a more modest—but still notable—transaction, with Paris-based Webhelp expanding its global reach in acquiring Grupo Services in Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy. In other notable stories, Canadian software solutions provider Enghouse is acquiring on-premises contact center provider Competella from Sweden; and India’s LeadSquared joins the unicorn club with a billion-dollar valuation from a successful Series C funding round. Details follow below.

Sitel Group Agrees to Proposed Merger with Majorel Group

Florida-based CX provider Sitel Group has given its agreement to a merger with Majorel Group, a fellow CX products and services provider headquartered in Luxembourg. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but the proposed combination involves two giant organizations located on opposite sides of the Atlantic, each pulling in billion-dollar annual revenues, and each counting a workforce that numbers in the hundreds of thousands.

The agreement is set out on a non-binding term sheet, which provides for a three-month exclusivity agreement between both parties, for a legal merger under Luxembourg law that will result in the dissolution of the Majorel Group.

Upon completion of the proposed merger, the combined entity will be headquartered in Luxembourg, one of the four institutional seats of the European Union (EU) and well-known for its developed financial system, with a new name and brand identity. The combined organization will be led by Laurent Uberti, currently president, CEO, and co-founder of Sitel, as the new group’s CEO. Thomas Mackenbrock, at present the CEO of Majorel, will be the chief investment officer of the group and CEO of the EMEA region. Olivier Camino, the global chief operating officer and co-founder of Sitel Group, will serve on the executive team of the new group.

The union will pair Majorel’s strong technology and expert-services expertise with Sitel Group’s rich support network of high-tech brands in the banking and financial services sector. An aligned cultural fit and shared entrepreneurial mindset is also expected between the two groups, with the leadership teams from each contributing significant sector experience and adding to an allied vision.

The merger will also create new shared opportunities with a unique service offering, domain expertise, and a well-established CX delivery platform across the Americas, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific. In place will be a complementary geographical presence and reach in key markets, including the two organizations’ respective offshore platforms in Africa and Asia-Pacific.

Key opportunities for the combined entity to create value will include new location solutions and talent scalability via an expanded geographic footprint; accelerated growth in content moderation and in trust and safety services; and the deployment of vertical-specific CX and digital solutions.

Overall, the merger will result in a combined entity of approximately 240,000 employees in 55 countries, a workforce able to speak more than 70 languages and provide support to in excess of 1,000 customers across various verticals with a total market value of more than $300 billion. Pro-forma revenue, a projected financial metric, is expected to reach approximately
$6.4 billion.

The merger could also make Sitel the world’s second largest provider of voice-based customer service, as reported by Connecticut-based Nearshore Americas, an independent online business news provider.

Paris-Based Webhelp Set to Acquire Brazilian CX BPO Provider Grupo Services

Webhelp, the provider of CX and business process outsourcing (BPO) services headquartered in Paris, is acquiring Grupo Services, a major Brazil-based provider of services similar to those offered by Webhelp, and also a purveyor of technology solutions for fintech, banking, retail and e-commerce, and telecommunications.

Financial terms of the acquisition are not known at this time, but the acquisition aligns with Webhelp’s continuing focus on innovation, now bolstered by the broad portfolio of Grupo Services in digital and technology-driven offerings that include chatbots, omnichannel orchestration, self-service technologies, and CX journey design. The deal reinforces the growing geographic footprint of Webhelp, solidifying the company’s strategic development in the Americas while extending its reach to Brazil, which accounts for an estimated 25% of the CX BPO market of Central and Latin America.

Webhelp will offer its existing global clients with immediate access to the Brazilian market and to Brazilian Portuguese language services, while clients that call Brazil home will be able to access new markets that form part of Webhelp’s significant global reach.

Olivier Duha, CEO and co-founder of Webhelp, is pleased with the acquisition. “We are delighted to welcome Grupo Services to the Webhelp family,” Duha says. “Their leadership team shares our company’s game-changing mindset, with an innovative tech-enabled strategy that helps local and global brands deliver next-generation customer experiences in the Brazilian market.”

Jansen Alencar, CEO at Grupo Services, says that like Webhelp, the company understands the importance of adopting a holistic approach and viewing CX from a customer journey perspective. “We are very excited about this next chapter of growth,” Alencar remarks. “We feel that there’s great cultural alignment between our teams, giving us the certainty of a bright future for all our people. For our clients, this partnership allows us to take the great work we do to the next level, thanks to the global experience and expertise we can now bring to the table. Like Webhelp, we understand the importance of taking a holistic approach to CX, looking at it from a customer journey perspective.”

Grupo Services has experienced strong growth over the past years, supporting both US and Brazilian brands while expanding its CX expertise in sectors dealing with advanced technology, business and commerce, finance, and communications. The company is headquartered in Curitiba, Brazil.

For Webhelp, the current transaction marks the French firm’s eleventh acquisition in five years, increasing the number of its operational sites worldwide to 213 spread across 58 countries. Total revenue for the company this year is expected to exceed $2.7 billion.

Canadian Provider Enghouse Acquires Swedish Platform Competella

Canadian enterprise software solutions provider Enghouse Systems Limited has acquired Competella AB, the provider from Stockholm, Sweden, of software as a service (SaaS) and on-premise contact center and attendant console solutions.

Enghouse is a publicly traded company in Canada that provides enterprise software solutions focusing on contact centers, video communications, healthcare, telecommunications, public safety, and the transit market. Possessing no external debt financing, the company has a two-pronged growth strategy focused on internal growth and acquisitions funded through operating cash flows.

Competella offers a complete platform built on Microsoft Teams, and the Competella Communication Suite includes solutions for contact centers and attendants as well as complementary Office User add-ons. For contact center agents and switchboard attendants, access is available to a broad array of tools, including directory search, presence, calendar, email, and IM, along with fully integrated queuing and media control. Sold through a professional network of cloud partners and system integrators, the Communication Suite and other Competella products have been deployed in more than 700 companies in both the public and private sectors, primarily in Scandinavia and Switzerland.

Steve Sadler, chairman and CEO at Enghouse, says Competella offers a cloud-based contact center solution that is easy to deploy. “Competella is a great fit for us, as we have both operated in Sweden for a long time,” Sadler notes. “We are very pleased to welcome Competella’s customers, employees, and partners to Enghouse.”

SaaS Provider LeadSquared Joins Unicorn Club with $153 Million in Fresh Funding

LeadSquared, a SaaS startup based in India that helps sales teams become more efficient through the firm’s customer relationship management (CRM) platform, raised $153 million in Series C funding at a valuation of $1 billion, effectively catapulting the company to unicorn status. The round was led by WestBridge Capital, the investment firm also from India that invests primarily in companies located in the South Asia region. Additional participation came from existing backers that included Gaja Capital, raising total funding so far for the startup to $188 million.

LeadSquared will use the fresh funds to outfit its CRM platform with new features, including sales performance analytics and a suite of tools to digitize application processing, says Nilesh Patel, co-founder and CEO of LeadSquared. The funds will also be used to add new offerings to the company’s product portfolio, and expand international operations in North America, Asia-Pacific, and EMEA; add new offerings to the company’s product portfolio; and fund acquisitions. To support its growth, the company plans to double its headcount within 18 months, Patel adds.

LeadSquared helps firms automate sales, bringing efficiency to sales touchpoints like call centers, feet-on-street (FoS) teams, digital channels, and other areas where consumer purchases take place. Headquartered in Bengaluru, India, and with its international office located in New Jersey, the company has 1,200 employees. Approximately 90% of its revenue is generated in India, the company’s home market, and revenue for its most recent fiscal year ending in March amounted to $25.6 million.

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