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Software giant Visma eyes €20bn valuation in stake sale

A cloud software giant backed by some of the world’s biggest private investors is in talks about the sale of a multibillion-pound stake to wealthy family offices and state investment funds.

Sky News understands that Group Bruxelles Lambert, the vehicle jointly established by the Belgian Frere family, and Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, are among the parties in talks to acquire an interest in Visma.

Sources said that Norway-based Visma – already one of Europe’s most richly valued private companies – was likely to be valued at between €19bn (£16.5bn) and €20bn (£17.3bn) following the deal.

It ranks among the top five software companies in Europe by enterprise value, having seen revenues boom from an explosion in demand for accounting, payroll, HR and other business software.]

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Among the shareholders expected to reduce or sell their stakes in the transaction are expected to be Warburg Pincus and TPG, the buyout firms, according to banking sources.

Hg Capital, the British-based firm which has had exposure to Visma since 2006, is expected to sell part of its interest from one, older fund and reinvest from a more recent fund, the bankers added.

Roughly one-third of Visma’s shares are expected to change hands once a deal is finalised in the coming months.

At the time of the Visma buyout 17 years ago, it was just one-tenth the size of Sage, the London-listed software group, while it is now worth more than double Sage’s valuation.

The company’s other existing shareholders include the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

Advisors from firms including Arma Partners, Bank of America, Jefferies and Morgan Stanley are understood to be involved in the talks.

None of those contacted by Sky News would comment on Monday.

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