EQUITYSTORY AG (FRA:E1S) EQS Group AG acquires Business Keeper GmbH

Transparency directive : regulatory news

11/06/2021 19:17

DGAP-News: EQS Group AG / Key word(s): Acquisition
EQS Group AG acquires Business Keeper GmbH

11.06.2021 / 19:17
The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

Corporate News

EQS Group AG acquires Business Keeper GmbH
EQS Group AG takes the leading position for whistleblowing systems in the EU

  • EQS Group AG takes the leading position as European cloud provider for whistleblowing systems
  • Together the companies have more than 1,200 SaaS customers and about EUR 20 million ARR (annual recurring revenue) in the whistleblower systems product area
  • Financed with cash, debt and to a limited extent by a capital increase
  • Increase in revenue guidance for 2021: EUR 49 million to 53 million; 2022 financial year: between EUR 70 million to 75 million
  • Significant increase in medium-term targets for 2025 to EUR 130 million revenue with an EBITDA margin of at least 30%

Munich - 11.06.2021

EQS Group AG (ISIN: DE0005494165) acquires 100 percent of the shares in Business Keeper GmbH, based in Berlin. The agreement to acquire the SaaS provider for whistleblowing and compliance was signed today. This makes EQS Group AG the leading European cloud provider for whistleblowing systems.

Business Keeper GmbH was founded in 2001 and developed the first digital whistleblowing system in Europe. The reporting system enables employees, customers and suppliers to anonymously and securely report irregularities they witness in organisations. Over the past 20 years, Business Keeper has developed other software products for compliance officers and provided them with a platform similar to EQS Group AG's COCKPIT. Business Keeper has over 300 customers and employs approximately 100 people in three European locations. Its customers are predominantly large corporations, including 16 DAX-listed companies. The company currently generates annual recurring license revenues (ARR) of approximately EUR 10 million and was EQS Group AG's strongest competitor in Germany.

The purchase price amounts to EUR 95 million (cash and debt free) and is to be paid in two tranches within 12 months. The sellers are Macquarie Capital, as well as the founder of Business Keeper and the managing director. The first tranche of EUR 80 million will be financed by EUR 10 million in cash and an acquisition loan of EUR 50 million from Commerzbank Munich. EQS Group AG also plans to carry out a capital increase of 7.5 percent of the share capital without subscription rights. The new shares will be offered to subscribers of the capital increase in February 2021. Members of the executive board and the supervisory board together with Investmentaktiengesellschaft für langfristige Investoren TGV have committed to backstop the capital increase in full at EUR 38.00 per share.

Achim Weick, CEO of EQS Group AG: "For EQS, the acquisition of Business Keeper GmbH is equivalent to the acquisition of DGAP mbH in 2005, the beginning of a success story. Our leading position as a European cloud provider for whistleblowing systems puts us in the perfect position with the implementation of the EU whistleblowing directive in the individual member states, first and foremost in Germany, the largest market."

Business Keeper GmbH was founded by Kenan Tur and is currently headed by managing director Kai Leisering. Kai Leisering will continue to hold a senior position at EQS Group AG. In addition to numerous DAX companies, Business Keeper's customer base also includes other international corporations such as Danone, Nestlé and Samsung.

Kai Leisering, Managing Director of Business Keeper GmbH: "As a pioneer in digital whistleblowing systems, we are now contributing our expertise and many years of experience in the compliance sector to EQS Group AG. The EU Whistleblower Directive offers a great opportunity to embed ethical standards in companies and promote a values-based business culture. Together with EQS Group AG, we can make an even greater contribution to the implementation of good corporate governance and sustainability in companies."

The EU Directive 2019/1937 stipulates the mandatory introduction of an internal reporting channel for companies with 250 employees or more by the end of 2021 and thereafter with 50 employees or more by the end of 2023.

Adjustment of the Guidance 2021
For the 2021 financial year, the Executive Board is now planning an increase in revenue of 30 to 40 percent to between EUR 49 million and EUR 53 million. EQS Group AG's investments in marketing and sales for the acquisition of new customers in relation to the implementation of the EU Whistleblower Directive will be consolidated with the sales and marketing investments of Business Keeper GmbH. EBITDA will be in the range of EUR 2 million to EUR 3 million (previously EUR 1 million to EUR 2 million). We expect at least EUR 9 million of new ARR. In addition, 1,750 to 2,250 new customers are to be acquired, the majority of them for the whistleblower system.

Preliminary outlook for 2022
EQS Group AG is planning revenues in the range of EUR 70 million to EUR 75 million. The outlook is based on the assumption that the EU Directive will be transposed into German legislation during the fourth quarter of 2021.

New medium-term target 2025
Due to the acquisition of Business Keeper GmbH, the improved market position of EQS Group AG and the faster market penetration of the Compliance COCKPIT have resulted in EQS Group AG now expecting to generate revenue of around EUR 130 million in the 2025 financial year with an EBITDA margin of at least 30%.

The Executive Board will be explaining the acquisition and its impact in a video conference on Monday, 14 June 2021 from 3.00 p.m. (CET). No login credentials are required. It will be broadcast live online at https://www.webcast-eqs.com/eqs20210614. Questions can be asked using the Q&A feature (chat) beforehand or during the webcast.

More information:

Receive news from EQS Group AG free of charge on your mobile device: via DGAP News App directly to your AppleWatch or iPhone (http://newsapp.dgap.de/).

EQS Group is a leading international provider of regulatory technology (RegTech) in the fields of corporate compliance and investor relations. In working with EQS Group, thousands of companies worldwide inspire trust by fulfilling complex national and international disclosure obligations, minimizing risks and communicating transparently with stakeholders.

EQS Group's products are pooled in the cloud-based software EQS COCKPIT. They ensure the professional control of compliance workflows in the fields of whistleblower protection and case management, policy management, approval management, insider list management and disclosure obligations. In addition, listed companies benefit from a global newswire, investor targeting and contact management, IR websites, digital reports and webcasts for efficient and secure investor communications.

EQS Group was founded in 2000 in Munich, Germany. Today the group employs more than 500 professionals and has offices in the world's key financial markets.


André Marques


Tel.: +49 89-444430033

Mobile: +49 175-5250009

Email.: andre.marques@eqs.com

11.06.2021 Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by DGAP - a service of EQS Group AG.
The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

The DGAP Distribution Services include Regulatory Announcements, Financial/Corporate News and Press Releases.
Archive at www.dgap.de

Language: English
Company: EQS Group AG
Karlstr. 47
80333 Munich
Phone: +49(0)89 444 430-000
Fax: +49(0)89 444 430-049
E-mail: info@eqs.com
Internet: www.eqs.com
ISIN: DE0005494165
WKN: 549416
Indices: Scale
Listed: Regulated Unofficial Market in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt (Scale), Munich (m:access), Stuttgart, Tradegate Exchange
EQS News ID: 1207247

End of News DGAP News Service

1207247  11.06.2021 


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