FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

Avalara to be Acquired by Vista Equity Partners for $8.4 Billion

Avalara | August 09, 2022 | Read time : 02:54 min

Avalara to be Acquired by Vista Equity Partners
Avalara, Inc., a leading provider of tax compliance automation for businesses of all sizes, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Vista Equity Partners (“Vista”), a leading global investment firm focused exclusively on enterprise software, data, and technology-enabled businesses, in partnership with institutional co-investors.

Under the terms of the agreement, Vista will acquire all outstanding shares of Avalara common stock for $93.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $8.4 billion, inclusive of Avalara’s net debt. The per share purchase price represents a premium of 27 percent over the Company’s closing share price as of July 6, 2022, the last trading day prior to media reports regarding a potential transaction.

Founded in 2004, Avalara’s success is built up on an extensive partner network; large tax content data and repository to help customers stay up to date on dynamic tax rules and regulations; and its cloud-native, end-to-end multi-product tax compliance portfolio. In partnering with Vista, Avalara will look to build on its successful platform by refining its go-to-market strategy, expanding its international workforce, streamlining its systems architecture, and continuing to pursue value-accretive M&A opportunities.

"For nearly two decades, Avalara has ambitiously pursued its vision to automate global compliance, making tax less taxing for businesses and governments around the world. As a leader in this category, we believe our continued investment in innovation and experience is exciting for our customers, partners, and employees. We are pleased to partner with Vista and will benefit from their expertise in enterprise software as we build and improve upon our cloud compliance platform.”

- Scott McFarlane, co-founder and CEO of Avalara

Vista has built a reputation as a preferred partner for founder-led, next-generation software companies, We look forward to working with Scott and the entire Avalara team to advance their vision and continue delivering innovative solutions to customers, said Monti Saroya, Co-Head of Vista’s Flagship Fund and Senior Managing Director.

Avalara is a mission-critical platform serving customers in a variety of end-markets, including retail, manufacturing, hospitality, and software, Avalara’s solutions, its commitment to product innovation, and its network of extensive partner integrations, resellers, and accountants make it a true leader in the space, said Adrian Alonso, Managing Director at Vista.

Transaction Details
The transaction, which was unanimously approved by the Avalara Board of Directors, is expected to close in the second half of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Avalara shareholders and receipt of regulatory approval. Closing of the transaction is not subject to a financing condition.

Upon completion of the transaction, Avalara’s shares will no longer trade on the New York Stock Exchange, and Avalara will become a private company. The company will continue to operate under the Avalara name and brand.

Advisors
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is serving as exclusive financial advisor to Avalara, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and Perkins Coie LLP are acting as legal counsel.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is acting as legal counsel for Vista.

About Avalara
Avalara helps businesses of all sizes get tax compliance right. In partnership with leading ERP, accounting, ecommerce, and other financial management system providers, Avalara delivers cloud-based compliance solutions for various transaction taxes, including sales and use, VAT, GST, excise, communications, lodging, and other indirect tax types. Headquartered in Seattle, Avalara has offices across the U.S. and around the world in Brazil, Europe, and India. More information at avalara.com.

About Vista Equity Partners
Vista is a leading global investment firm with $96 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2022. The firm exclusively invests in enterprise software, data and technology-enabled organizations across private equity, permanent capital, credit and public equity strategies, bringing an approach that prioritizes creating enduring market value for the benefit of its global ecosystem of investors, companies, customers and employees. Vista's investments are anchored by a sizable long-term capital base, experience in structuring technology-oriented transactions and proven, flexible management techniques that drive sustainable growth. Vista believes the transformative power of technology is the key to an even better future – a healthier planet, a smarter economy, a diverse and inclusive community and a broader path to prosperity.

Spotlight

Chief Investment Strategist Erik Ristuben joins host Mark Soupiset on this week’s Market Week in Review webcast. With the Dow Jones Industrial Average back in positive territory for 2016, Ristuben explains that the Fed’s remarks indicating an intention to raise rates only two more times this year – could have important implications for U.S. and global equities going forward. Ristuben also gives his expert opinion on rising oil prices, and on what the strong week in emerging market equities could mean for investors’ portfolios.


Other News
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

Highline and Argyle Partner to Increase Consumer Access to Credit, Reduce Risk for Lenders Through Payroll-Linked Lending

Argyle and Highline | August 30, 2022

To meet the needs of U.S. consumers who are normally shut out of affordable credit products, payments fintech Highline Technologies and employment data platform Argyle have partnered to bring payroll-linked lending and billpay capabilities to lenders nationwide. With payroll-linked lending, consumer loans are automatically repaid through preset distributions directly from the borrower’s paycheck. This benefits consumers by providing them access to lower cost credit through more reputable, non-predatory lenders; and also benefits lenders as payroll-linked lending enables them to decrease missed payments by up to 2/3rds and reduce default rates by more than half. “Our partnership with Highline empowers workers, consumers and lenders with over 160 granular data points, while moving us closer to universal financial access for the underbanked, those with thin credit or no credit history, and those that the financial system has traditionally left out; gig workers, shift workers and creators, Argyle’s data coupled with Highline’s commitment to financial wellness is meaningfully expanding access to financial services and reducing risk for consumers and lenders alike.” -Shmulik Fishman, CEO of Argyle Argyle’s real-time, borrower-permissioned service is fully integrated into Highline’s platform, which enables lenders to implement any number of decisioning, origination and repayment use cases. Lenders can embed these capabilities within their own digital experience. An applicant’s income and employment data, including employment tenure and income, can be used for decisioning. Consumers then opt-in to repay loans through allocations from payroll and Highline manages the flow of funds to pay off the loans. True financial inclusion begins with the recognition that there is a shortage of non-predatory options available for many Americans who need access to relatively small dollar loans, The team at Argyle recognizes this as well and, like Highline, is committed to helping more consumers gain access to credit in a way that also makes sense for lenders and fits their business objectives,said Geoff Brown, CEO of Highline. About Argyle Argyle is building the leading user-consent-based platform for employment data, helping people avoid situations where their personal information is sold or used without their consent or knowledge. With Argyle, any business can process income and work verifications, gain real-time transparency into earnings, as well as view and update worker profile details. By removing the barriers between a worker, the companies they make money from, and the business they buy services and products from, Argyle has reimagined how employment data can be leveraged to benefit both institutions and individuals. About Highline Highline is a new payments platform that automates bill payments directly from payroll. It provides lenders with a simple, direct approach to credit decisioning and payment automation that can be supported at scale. Lenders can decrease missed payments by up to 2/3rds, reduce default rates by more than half, expand customers’ credit options, and better support financial wellness. Built by subject matter experts, data scientists and technologists, Highline’s solution unleashes the power of payment automation to help lenders and financial institutions expand the pool of potential borrowers.

Read More

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

FTFT Signs MOU to Acquire Alpha International Securities

Future FinTech Group Inc. | September 12, 2022

Future FinTech Group Inc., a blockchain application technology developer and a fintech service provider, announced today that on September 1, 2022, Future FinTech (Hong Kong) Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Equity Acquisition (the 'MOU') to acquire Alpha International Securities (Hong Kong) Ltd. (Alpha Securities) from Alpha Financial Limited, a firm based in Hong Kong. The purchase price and acquisition terms of the acquisition are to be determined pending due diligence and a financial audit of Alpha Securities by FTFT HK, with a formal acquisition agreement to be executed within 60 days after the parties are satisfied with the results of the due diligence and a mutual agreement as to the terms of the acquisition. The MOU stipulates that for a period of two months, Alpha Financial Limited will not engage in activities with any other party pursuant to the sale of Alpha Securities. The MOU represents terms for a proposed transaction subject to definitive documentation and is non-binding except for its 'Confidentiality and Exclusivity' and 'Governing Law and Dispute Resolution' sections. Steven Xiang, General Manager of Alpha Securities, stated, Alpha Securities mainly focuses on three financial services sectors: Online brokerage services consisting of Hong Kong equities as well as US equities, where we work with our partner, a US brokerage firm, The underwriting and distribution of securities for Hong Kong IPOs, and The underwriting of US dollar-based bonds issued by Chinese municipal cities and companies in Hong Kong. We hold Type 1 'Securities Trading', Type 2 'Futures Contract Trading' and Type 4 'Securities Consulting' financial licenses issued by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission. Mr. Xiang continued, The Alpha Securities management team has substantial international financial markets experience and our principal team members are from well-known financial institutions. We have over 30,000 customer accounts and have underwritten 29 IPOs in Hong Kong since July 2020. In terms of our offshore China US dollar bond issuance, we underwrote approximately US$1.34 billion for nine municipal investment funds and enterprises. "Alpha Securities is committed to providing customers with a full range of financial services in Hong Kong including online brokerage services, IPOs, rights issuances for listed companies, financial advisory services and US dollar-based Chinese municipal and enterprise bond issuance services among our other services." - Alpha Securities' Mr. Xiang Shanchun Huang, Chief Executive Officer of Future FinTech, commented, We believe that this potential acquisition will be synergistic with Nice Talent Asset Management Limited (NTAM), our 90%-owned asset management subsidiary also based in Hong Kong, as well as other financial services businesses that we are developing. We believe that Alpha Securities could also play an important role in our continued transformation as we internationalize and diversify our business and income flows. Our objective is to become a diversified fintech enterprise that optimizes current opportunities and integrates them into a comprehensive and strategic business platform. About Future FinTech Group Inc. Future FinTech Group Inc. is a blockchain application technology developer and fintech service provider incorporated in Florida. The Company's operations include a blockchain-based online shopping mall platform, Chain Cloud Mall (CCM), supply chain financing services, asset management, and cryptocurrency market data services. The Company is also engaged in the development of blockchain based e-Commerce technology and cryptocurrency mining, cryptocurrency investment management as well as financial service technology and business.

Read More

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT,INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT

Inscribe Addresses Demand for Better Risk Management, Faster Approvals From Finance Industry

Inscribe | September 15, 2022

Inscribe, the award-winning fraud detection and document automation platform, today announced that it has released new features to help the financial services industry meet demands for better risk management and faster customer approvals. Outdated and inefficient processes currently being utilized leave businesses waiting from one to six months to hear about loan applications, while millions of consumers without credit scores aren't able to access financial products at all. But forward-thinking companies are addressing the need for data-driven risk management with AI-powered fraud detection, document automation, and credit analysis. "Whether applying for a loan, opening a line of credit, or dealing with a faulty credit score due to a computer coding error, we've all suffered from unfair or inefficient processes in our interactions with financial institutions, Inscribe's tremendous growth in 2022 has allowed us to further our mission of creating a fair and efficient financial services ecosystem, and new Credit Analysis™ and AI-powered bank statement automation features that we've just released give companies instant access to the vast amount of financial data contained within documents so that they can make faster and more inclusive lending decisions." -Ronan Burke, co-founder and CEO of Inscribe In the past, risk and operations teams had to spend upwards of 30 minutes reviewing a single application document for information. New Credit Analysis™ snapshots and advanced automation features from Inscribe provide a snapshot of important data points needed to make lending decisions with confidence — including cash flow details from bank statements, transaction parsing, and pay stub parsing. Unlike other solutions currently on the market that can take up to 4 hours, Inscribe accurately extracts and returns key details (names, addresses, dates, transactions, salary) in just seconds. Fast-growing fintechs across lending, corporate cards, and financial automation have already adopted these features: Reviewing bank statements is a critical step for us to determine an applicant's creditworthiness. But that requires a lot of manual effort for our team to verify income, understand expenditure, search for high-risk transactions, etc., Inscribe's Credit Analysis feature mimics the same heuristics my team uses and delivers those key cashflow data points almost instantly. Not only does this save us time, but it enables us to make better credit decisions,said Anurag Puranik, Head of Credit and Risk at Coast. One of our competitive advantages at Ramp is speed. As the fastest growing corporate card in America, we look for products and services that can match our pace and help us accelerate growth, In the process of automating our underwriting, we found that a significant percentage of our applicants still uploaded bank statements. Inscribe's transaction parsing has been key to automating the application review process,said Karim Atiyeh, co-founder and CTO at Ramp. Inscribe's pay stub parsing has been incredible, The fact that we don't have to have our internal agents pull out net pay or annualize income significantly reduces the chances of human error and frees up their time. It really has improved our efficiency. We've been able to reduce the amount of time it takes for us to give applicants a loan decision by 50%,said Sara Vozeolas, Sr. Operations Analyst at VIVA Finance. With these new features, Inscribe customers can address business and consumer demands for near-instant approvals while protecting themselves from fraud and credit losses down the line. This announcement comes amid rapid growth from Inscribe in 2022: The company surpassed a 3x y-o-y increase in annual recurring revenue (ARR) and a 4x y-o-y increase in the number of documents being processed every month. Companies that use Inscribe can give their customers faster approvals while saving thousands of employee hours and millions of dollars in fraud losses each year. In 2022, Inscribe also announced a partnership with Lendflow and was listed on the 2022 AIFintech100 and SaaS award lists. To learn more about Inscribe's fraud detection and risk management solutions, About Inscribe Inscribe's award-winning technology is the most effective way for fintechs and financial services organizations to automate their manual reviews, reduce fraud losses, and increase decision accuracy. By automating document reviews and improving fraud detection, companies can increase efficiency and reduce operational costs. Founded in 2017, Inscribe is trusted by leading companies like BlueVine, Petal, Fair, and Ramp. Inscribe is backed by Y Combinator, Uncork Capital, Crosslink Capital, and Foundry Group, and has a presence in the US and Europe.

Read More

CORE BANKING,FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

Atomic Earns "Best Banking Transaction Solution" Recognition as Part of Annual 2022 FinTech Breakthrough Awards

Atomic | August 24, 2022

Atomic, the market-leading provider for payroll connectivity, has been named the winner of the sixth annual FinTech Breakthrough Awards for "Best Banking Transaction Solution". This award comes on the heels of the company's $40 million Series B funding round, further validation of Atomic's cutting edge and consumer-friendly payroll solutions. "This is an incredible milestone for our company and recognition of our team's hard work creating fairer financial services for all Americans, We are humbled to be acknowledged among technology leaders, partners and Atomic customers." -Jordan Wright, Co-Founder and CEO of Atomic Payroll represents a rich store of consumer data. Making it accessible and interoperable allows the potential to drive new, lower-cost financial products for customers. This improves the financial outcomes while providing financial institutions with new tools to reduce fraud, improve privacy and increase customer retention. Atomic's vision and solutions have been embraced by some of the most compelling and innovative neobanks and fintech platforms, reshaping an antiquated financial services landscape. These include Coinbase, Dave, Welcome Tech, and Propel, as well as more than 70 financial institutions and technology partners. Further, Atomic has experienced 100% customer retention since launching. Atomic's vision is to enable wealth creation for consumers by building more on-ramps to financial services. The company is a member of the Financial Health Network, a nonprofit network of leading-edge financial services and financial technology providers committed to consumer-and-employee-focused financial health innovations. Atomic is also a member of the FIS Fintech Accelerator, in partnership with The Venture Center. The program brings bankers, subject matter experts and financial service executives together with pre-vetted, market-validated fintech companies to advance the financial services industry. The FinTech Breakthrough Awards receive nominations from the best and brightest fintech companies across the globe. The ongoing goal is to deliver the most comprehensive analysis of the fintech industry each year, and with nearly 4,000 nominations, the industry evaluation was broad and extremely competitive for the 2022 program. Some of the winners from other categories include: Charles Schwab, Afterpay, Northwestern Mutual, Fiserv, MoonPay, FIS, S&P Global, Amount, Quicken, BNY Mellon, Mastercard, NCR, Blockdaemon, Guaranteed Rate, Bread, First Citizens Bank, Blockchain.com, Webull, Experian and an impressive list of top companies and startups in the larger fintech industry. About Atomic Atomic is the market-leading provider of payroll APIs, trusted by 12 of the largest fintech firms, including digital-first neobanks, alternative lenders, and digital brokerages, as well as more than 70 financial institutions and partners. Atomic's payroll integrations provide the infrastructure to connect consumers to their financial data for verification of income and employment, automating set-up and updating of direct deposits, repaying financial obligations from their paycheck, optimizing tax withholdings, and accessing earned but unpaid wages. Atomic simplifies complicated payroll integrations with a single API that covers more than 450 unique payroll connections, including incumbent payroll providers, bespoke enterprise solutions, modern HR tech providers, gig-economy platforms and government systems. Atomic has raised $78.6 million from investors, including Mercato Partners Traverse, Greylock, Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Venture Partners.

Read More

Spotlight

Chief Investment Strategist Erik Ristuben joins host Mark Soupiset on this week’s Market Week in Review webcast. With the Dow Jones Industrial Average back in positive territory for 2016, Ristuben explains that the Fed’s remarks indicating an intention to raise rates only two more times this year – could have important implications for U.S. and global equities going forward. Ristuben also gives his expert opinion on rising oil prices, and on what the strong week in emerging market equities could mean for investors’ portfolios.

Resources