Mergers and Acquisitions, IT management, Mergers and Acquisitions, MSP, Content

NCS Acquires Cloud MSP At 15.7X EBITDA Valuation

100 dollar frame over clear sky.

NCS, a subsidiary of Sintel, has acquired ARQ Group -- an Australia-based cloud MSP -- for A$290 million (or roughly US$217 million). The deal's valuation is roughly 15.7X enterprise-value-to-EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization).

Note: That 15.7X multiple is generally at the high-end of MSP valuations that we've seen, though ChannelE2E is aware of a few deals that have pushed toward 20X annual EBITDA.

This is technology M&A deal number 314 that ChannelE2E has covered so far in 2022. See more than 1,000 technology M&A deals involving MSPs, MSSPs & IT service providers listed here.

Rapid Cloud MSP Revenue Growth, Strong EBITDA Profit Margins

ARQ’s 560-person team will increase NCS’ headcount in Australia to 1,900, the buyer said. ARQ's expertise spans cloud, digital, data and analytics solutions. But why did NCS pay a premium for ARQ? The simple answer likely involve's ARQ's rapid revenue growth rate and healthy EBTIDA profit margins. Indeed:

  • ARQ’s revenue is projected to reach A$118M by end 2022 -- up a lofty 38 percent from 2021.
  • Also, EBITDA is projected to increase to A$18.4M.
  • Quick math suggests ARQ is generating EBTIDA profit margins of about 15.6 percent -- which is near the top quartile of MSPs, according to benchmark research from Service Leadership Inc., which is owned by ConnectWise.

Meanwhile, NCS has extensive M&A experience. Other recent deals include acquiring and/or investing in:

NCS, ARQ Group Executives Explain the M&A Deal

Describing the latest ARQ Group acquisition, NCS CEO Ng Kuo Pin said:

“This latest acquisition completes a jigsaw of strategic investments in Australia, ramping up our presence in a market that is critical to our regional expansion. Combined with Dialog’s core IT capabilities and extensive reach across 8 Australian cities, ARQ brings on board the right digital competencies that help create a highly compelling end-to-end digital transformation value proposition. Taken together, our four investments to date have given us the necessary scale, capabilities and credibility to compete as a regional digital powerhouse as we help governments and enterprises in Singapore and Australia achieve their digital transformation goals.”

Added ARQ CEO Tristan Sternson:

“Joining the NCS family is a tremendous opportunity to continue growing the business as it now allows us to go international and serve regional clients besides capturing more domestic market share by leveraging synergies within NCS. We are well primed for expansion, having grown our government footprint to over a third of our business, acquired many new customers and hired 300 new talents on board. We intend to keep optimising NCS’ world-class IT and digital capabilities to keep building innovative solutions for our clients.”

Concluded Wynthia Goh, senior partner of NCS NEXT:

“We look forward to welcoming ARQ into the NCS NEXT family. ARQ’s highly experienced and scalable agile teams will become part of NEXT as one regional digital team to serve clients across the region in the post-pandemic era. Together, we will unlock more synergies between Australia and Singapore and enable cross-pollination of tech innovation.”

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.