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Acolad and Amplexor Acquisition Now Official

Mergers and Acquisitions

The Group passes the symbolic threshold of 2,000 employees and has a combined turnover of more than 270 million euros for the year 2019.

The intention for a merger between Acolad and Amplexor was announced September 20, 2020. Today, the merger was made official, and the industry can expect Acolad and Amplexor to reinforce their presence as well as improve their technological and commercial service offering to create a leading global language service provider. The Group has agreed not to disclose the financial details of the transaction.

Together, Amplexor and Acolad have decades of expertise in delivering language and content services for a range of industries, including life sciences, manufacturing and the public sector. In addition to its leading position in the US, Eastern European, and DACH markets, Amplexor will also enrich the Group with a comprehensive portfolio of content management and digital experience solutions, reinforcing Acolad’s worldwide presence and cross-selling capabilities.

Both parties are now concentrating their efforts on ensuring a successful integration, which will play a key role in achieving their shared ambition of becoming one of the top three language service providers worldwide. In the meantime, their mission remains unchanged, as they continue to operate globally and support their customers and partners. Olivier Marcheteau, CEO of the Acolad Group, comments: “I am excited that this great project is becoming a reality. By joining forces with Amplexor, we are uniquely positioned to provide even more industry-leading technological solutions and high-quality services to our customers. During the integration phase, the Acolad and Amplexor leadership teams will work together to identify new opportunities for our customers and employees, while continuing to provide the high-quality services that both companies are known for.”

The new board of directors is as follows:
Olivier Marcheteau, CEO of the combined Group
Benjamin du Fraysseix, President of the combined Group, Board Member and Advisor
Guillaume Patry, Board Member and Advisor
Mark Evenepoel, Board Member and Advisor

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Marjolein realized early on that the Netherlands was too small for her. After traveling to 30+ countries over the span of 10 years she moved to the United States in 2014. She holds a degree in Communication from the University of Rotterdam and has long had an affinity for creative writing.

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Straker Wins Major Contract with IBM

AI, Business News, Localization

Shares of New-Zealand based Straker Translations (ASX.STG) jumped almost 45% today — November 11 in New Zealand — on the announcement of a strategic two-year agreement with IBM starting in January 2021.

Straker’s AI-based RAY platform runs on IBM Cloud, and integrates seamlessly with IBM’s technology platforms. It outperformed other technologies that were considered in the selection process. Of particular note is the ability to take on IBM’s global media localization to provide multimedia content in 30 languages.

The localization company already provided localization services into Spanish, and will now expand its portfolio to 55 languages in support of IBM cloud services, IBM adaptive translations, and IBM global media localization. Volumes have not been disclosed, but Straker expects significant growth in revenue and a 30% increase in headcount to handle the new languages.

“This agreement is a recognition of the outstanding capabilities of our technology to handle a large volume of translation that is currently managed internally at IBM. Our talented team will be able to achieve major productivity gains with AI-powered RAY platform,” Straker CEO and co-founder Grant Straker told MultiLingual.

After IBM announced last month that it was restructuring by spinning out its infrastructure services business, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna made it clear that his focus is going to be on transforming the organization into a hybrid cloud management vendor. This is certainly a good sign for Straker and its shareholders.

 

 

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Katie Botkin, Editor-in-Chief at MultiLingual, has a background in linguistics and journalism. She began publishing "multilingual" newsletters at the age of 15, and went on to invest her college and post-graduate career in language learning, teaching and writing. She has extensive experience with niche American microcultures across the political spectrum.

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Lionbridge AI Unit Acquired by Canadian Telecom

Language Industry News and Events, Mergers and Acquisitions

TELUS International, a digital customer experience division of Canadian telecom giant TELUS, agreed to acquire Lionbridge AI, the crowd-based training data and annotation platform used to power machine learning. The acquisition will be at a purchase price of approximately C$1.2 billion (approximately US$935 million) and should be completed by the end of December 2020.

Lionbridge AI and Appen are the two largest training data and data annotation services providers in the world. Lionbridge AI annotates data in text, images, videos, and audio in more than 300 languages and dialects for some of the world’s largest technology companies in social media, search, retail, and mobile. Based in Waltham, Massachusetts, Lionbridge AI has more than 750 employees working from countries around the world, including in the US, Ireland, Finland, India, UK, Japan, Denmark, Costa Rica, and South Korea. Lionbridge AI works with a community of 30,000-50,000 global crowd contributors deployed at any one point in time.

Lionbridge AI has demonstrated strong financial growth, reporting 2019 revenue of approximately US$ 200 million. According to our sources, the company reported US$ 175 million in revenue in the first three quarters of 2020, showing growth even with the effects of the COVID pandemic.

This transaction highlights the continuous M&A activity in the translation and localization industry, and will affect the rankings of translation companies by bringing the overall revenue for Lionbridge to the half-billion US dollar range.

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Amplexor joins Acolad Group

Mergers and Acquisitions

Acolad, a language service provider based in the Ile-de-France just announced that they are “joining forces” with Amplexor, based in Bertrange in Luxembourg. The acquisition will make Acolad Group the biggest LSP headquartered in mainland Europe, and the seventh-biggest LSP globally.

“Joining forces with Amplexor will reinforce our technological excellence and global footprint,” Acolad stated with the announcement.

This consolidation is contingent upon necessary antitrust approvals, and will be completed by the end of the 2020 fourth quarter. “We are really happy about this agreement and confident the EU will validate the deal soon,” said Victoria Weidemann, CMO of the Acolad Group. When the deal is confirmed, the Acolad Group will employ over 2,000 individuals. Their combined turnover from last year would total over 270 million euros. However, Acolad will not acquire all of Amplexor — the deal excludes some business segments of Amplexor.

“Amplexor is a major player on the market. When we started learning more about the group, we identified so many complementarities that this deal quickly became a no-brainer for us. I am particularly proud that we will team up to confirm our leadership in life sciences and the public sector as well as on the US market, where Acolad has been seeing increased traction,” said Benjamin du Fraysseix, president of the Acolad Group.

“Together, Amplexor and Acolad have the industry knowledge, strategy, and leadership to solidify and expand their position as a major force in the content and language services industry worldwide. I’ve been admiring Acolad’s stronghold in Benelux, Southern and Northern Europe,” said Amplexor CEO Mark Evenepoel.

Amplexor and Acolad will combine their client and solution portfolios in industries such as life sciences, manufacturing, IT, finance, consumer goods and the public sector, with Amplexor remaining a major vendor to EU institutions. Amplexor will also bring a portfolio of digital solutions to the Acolad Group, including content management, global compliance, and digital experience.

The merger is the second this month that reorganizes the top ten biggest LSPs in the world. The deal follows only weeks after RWS announced it was going to acquire SDL in a billion-dollar deal. Asked about his thoughts on RWS-SDL, du Fraysseix said, “It makes sense, for the same reasons — we feel our deal is quite similar to this deal, even though smaller in size.”

CSA Research released a graphic tracing the changes to the top ten since 2005, newly updated this morning to reflect the Acolad/Amplexor acquistion. The Nimdzi top LSPs breakdown from earlier this year had Amplexor already listed as the tenth-biggest provider.

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MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.

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BIG Acquires ISI Language Solutions

Language Industry News and Events, Mergers and Acquisitions, Translation

ISI Language Solutions will offer BIG specialization in healthcare and insurance translation and localization solutions.

In an already-busy season for acquisitions, Atlanta-based BIG Language Solutions (BIG) has announced the acquisition of healthcare and insurance specialist ISI Language Solutions, a provider of industry specific language access and localization solutions, for an undisclosed sum. ISI Language Solutions provides services like translation and localization, onsite interpreting, over-the-phone interpreting, video remote interpreting, alternative formats (large print, Braille, audio), multimedia localization, and linguistic quality assurance technologies.

Advised by Nimdzi in the acquisition, ISI had been listed on the Nimdzi Top 100 largest language service providers in the world several years in a row. Nimdzi Insights M&A advisor Jonathan Otis said, “Nimdzi has enjoyed working with ISI on many projects over the years, culminating with this successful transaction. We think ISI fits well with BIG and will thrive with the additional resources now available.”

BIG was founded by CEO Jeff Brink in partnership with MSouth Equity Partners, an Atlanta-based private equity firm, in order to assemble a portfolio of high-performing and complementary language service providers, of which ProTranslating was the first. Brink heard about ISI via boutique advisory firm JSquare Conseil, which advised on Acolad’s Telelingua and HL Trad deals.

The acquisition fits well with BIG’s regulated-industry growth strategy, which involves investing in technology and growth, according to Brink.

ISI was founded in 1982 by George Rimalower — the son of Holocaust survivors who fled Nazi Germany. ISI owners Emilie Villeneuve and Michael Bearden were long-term employees for ISI before purchasing it from Rimalower in 2012. Villeneuve, who began as an assistant, stepped into the role of CEO at the time, while Bearden, who started as a project manager, became president.

As part of BIG’s acquisition of ISI, around 70 ISI employees will join the BIG and ProTranslating organizations. In the COVID-19 environment, nearly all of the due diligence and advising were conducted remotely, via video conferencing and daily calls — and in the end, the remote work paid off.

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Disney Partners with Translation in New Ad Campaign

Business News

With the aim of capturing greater multicultural representation, Disney Advertising Sales has officially announced its partnership with Translation for its newest ad campaign.

Earlier this year, Disney Advertising Sales and Translation LLC began negotiations on a partnership to develop advertisements with greater, more organic multicultural reach. Due to the onset of the pandemic, however, delays had prevented the two from finalizing the collaboration until just last week.

Operating for over 15 years, Translation has made its mark on several industries, working with cultural stars like Jay-Z, Lebron James, James Dolan, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett-Smith to create ad campaigns for the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, State Farm, Nike, and UnitedMasters. Translation even recruited music artist Pusha T to compose the iconic McDonald’s “Ba da ba ba ba, I’m lovin’ it,” jingle.

“As an African-American leader of a mainstream agency for the last 15 years, this was a watershed moment for me, as I’ve been fighting the headwinds of trying to get a seat at the table, to make work for major companies and not be segmented to just the African American audience,” says Translation CEO Steve Stoute. “Now, they’re leaning in, understanding that ethnic insights are the insights of popular culture. Diversity is a way to connect to youth.”

Disney Advertising Sales brands include ESPN, ABC, FreeForm, FX, National Geographic Channel, Disney Channel and the owned-and-operated ABC local TV stations. Translation’s ongoing commitment to multicultural representation paired with a creative behemoth like Disney signals a momentous shift in the movement toward greater inclusivity in popular culture.

“Ultimately, we were in a place where we knew creative storytelling mattered, but we also wanted to be able to scale it across audiences, and scale the expertise with people who had experience with brands on how to make culturally relevant creative stand out in the media business,” says President of Disney Advertising Sales Rita Ferro. “Disney has scale and brands that matter. We wanted to take that as a foundational platform, and use the best brand partnerships—like we did with Steve and Translation on State Farm, and what we did with CreativeWorks with Ford—to create moments that stand out and drive brands’ business.”

One of the first collaborations between Disney and Translation actually came earlier this year during the well-renowned Michael Jordan and Chicago Bulls documentary The Last Dance. Airing on Disney-owned ESPN, the State Farm deep fake ad doctors a news anchor’s 1998 report on the Bulls to include popular 2020 slang terms. Although the advertisement was a hit, it also opened a discussion about the ethics of AI, especially in regards to deep fake technology.

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RWS buys SDL to become new language services industry leader

Business News, Language Industry News and Events, Mergers and Acquisitions

When two giants merge, an even bigger one is born — and the language services industry is currently witnessing the birth of its biggest giant ever.

On August 27, 2020, the boards of RWS and SDL announced a deal that will see RWS buying SDL. In the UK’s largest tech deal of the year, RWS has agreed to pay GBP 809 million ($1.066 billion) to buy SDL. While there are still a few more regulatory steps that need to be taken, including official shareholder votes, the details of the deal have already been released.

As it stands, RWS shareholders will own about two-thirds of the combined business, while SDL shareholders will own the remaining third. Over time, the SDL brand is set to disappear and the whole company will be placed under the RWS brand.

What does this mean for the language services industry? MultiLingual spoke with industry experts at Nimdzi Insights to find out.

“The acquisition that RWS and SDL just announced first of all means a shift in leadership for the industry,” says Sarah Hickey, chief researcher at Nimdzi Insights. “While RWS and SDL already ranked among the top five companies by revenue in the language industry, until now nobody has posed a significant threat to the leading position of TransPerfect, who’ve held the number one spot on Nimdzi’s ranking of industry leaders for the past three years in a row.”

Hickey adds that, “If we look at their revenues as listed in the Nimdzi 100 ranking in March 2020, RWS and SDL now outperform TransPerfect by almost $170 million and we can expect them to break the USD one billion mark this year. Their combined annual revenue for FY2019 was $934.1 million.”

“The acquisition also means that for the first time in the history of the language services industry, a company from the United Kingdom will be leading the market. Until now, the top three spots in Nimdzi’s ranking were held by companies headquartered in the United States.” Especially given how soon this has come after Brexit and the fact that it’s happening during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Hickey believes this could indicate that the UK market is still going strong.

According to Renato Beninatto, language industry veteran and CEO of Nimdzi Insights, “The merger will likely accelerate other deals in the industry. Companies to watch are Lionbridge, Welocalize, Semantix, LanguageWire, and Keywords. As with major mergers that have happened in the past, mergers at the top create new opportunities for players downstream.”

As if to prove his point, the latest acquisition announcement rolled in just a few hours later — coming once again from Europe. Dublin-headquartered game localization leader Keywords Studios (KWS.L) has just announced the acquisition of London-based creative marketing agency Maverick Media. The deal is worth up to GBP 3.6 million ($4.7 million) and is one of a number of acquisitions Keywords Studios has completed in recent months. 

“Keywords Studios is listed on the London stock exchange. Considering their recent M&A activity in combination with the latest RWS and SDL deal, it shows that there’s a lot happening on the UK market right now,” concludes Hickey.

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MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.

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