Office Management is a success story about a goal-oriented, competitive person who started a company with a colleague to develop the photocopier and office supplies market into small businesses. Sales rapidly gained momentum, and over time the company’s vision developed into becoming a comprehensive provider of office services in document management, telephony, video, IT operations and facility services. The company had increased its sales every year of its operations when Mats Hjerpe, partner at Priveq, came into contact with Johan Tilander in 2005. But it would take seven years before Priveq was given the opportunity to buy in.
“After I got to know Johan, our discussions led to a colleague and me being invited to a strategy meeting in Iceland in 2006,” says Mats. “Johan did not want to sell at that time, but we kept in touch and had a coffee from time to time to discuss how things were going. In 2011, Johan called shortly after our latest catch-up and told us that he had received an offer from an industrial company. He wondered if we could help him value the offer. When we went through the details, we could see that he had received an offer at a very good price. All I could do was congratulate him.”
Asking Priveq to make a counter-offer
However, Johan Tilander got cold feet because the deal would mean that his company’s name would disappear, and he felt that he would be putting his employees at risk as the bidder was a big industrial player. Johan also felt that he was not yet finished with the company and still wanted to be part of its journey. So instead he asked Priveq to come up with a counter-offer. At that point, Office Management had about 5,500 customers, sales of about SEK 600 million, and a profit margin of about 8 percent; all the conditions for growth looked favourable. The company had also managed a successful change of leadership from founder Johan Tilander to new CEO Mats Ågren – someone who had risen up through the ranks and who was also a former world champion in floorball.
“We went as far as we could in our bid, but it was not possible to reach the price offered by the industrial player. Despite this, Johan chose to let Priveq invest and continues to build the company with us. We started discussions at the end of 2011, came to an agreement in a very short time, signed a letter of intent in January 2012, and then signed a contract in the spring that was totally in line with the letter of intent. Having watched the company’s progress from the side lines for so many years, it was absolutely fantastic to now be involved and support Office Management as it took the next steps in its already successful progress,” says Mats Hjerpe.
A new development plan
Priveq acquired 65 percent of Office Management, while founder Johan Tilander retained 20 percent and the company’s management took up the remaining 15 percent. At the outset, the plan was for Priveq to help Office Management go from being purely a Swedish player to becoming a Nordic company, and to expand its customer offer. The company required more structure and a number of support systems were created. The new ownership also identified opportunities to increase sales of additional services and products to Office Management’s existing customers. Above all, the goal was to strengthen the company’s IT area, so that it could develop a closer, business-critical relationship with its customers.
Office Management is a company with a strong sales culture, with sales boards along the walls and a bell that rings every time a deal is signed.
During Priveq Investment’s ownership period, Office Management showed good organic growth, complemented by a number of strategic acquisitions designed to strengthen its IT offer and increase its geographic footprint. Sales increased from SEK 600 million to SEK 900 million and profitability rose significantly from an already good level, despite extensive investment in organisational development. Shortly after Priveq Investments came on board, Office Management started operations in Norway, and during Priveq’s ownership period the company made an acquisition in Helsinki that expanded their presence into the Finnish market.
The next step
Office Management’s success naturally attracted interest from other investors and the owners were wooed by many potential suitors. The business plan had been fulfilled earlier than expected, so in 2016 the owners decided to hand over the reins to a new partner to take the company forward.
Commenting on the sale, CEO Mats Ågren said: “Office Management has developed strongly in recent years and the five-year plan that we jointly agreed on in mid-2012 has been successfully implemented. I would like to thank Priveq, which through its active ownership has supported us in creating the structural capital that is necessary for our continued expansion. At the same time, I welcome Inter IKEA Investments as the new principal owner and I’m convinced that they will help take Office Management to the next level.”
Year of investment: 2012
Fund: Priveq Investment IV
Year of divestment: 2016
Contact: +46 8 734 30 00
About the company
Office Management is a leading supplier of IT, communication and office services. The company offers complete solutions in the areas of document management, telephony, video, IT operations and facility services.
Sales: SEK 609m
EBITDA margin: 9%
Sales: SEK 897m
EBITDA margin: 12%
Priveq investment team:
Mats Hjerpe, Henrik Westfeldt