LBO France acquires Passman group

LBO France has acquired a majority stake in the capital of the Passman group. The company’s two co-founding managers have also invested as part of the deal, while Andera Partners is reinvesting via its ActoMezz team.

This acquisition is in keeping with LBO France’s Small Cap strategy dedicated to growing French and Italian SMEs and follows a remarkable period of growth (revenues have increased from EUR13 million to EUR28 million in five years) since the sponsorless LBO of April 2014 led by ActoMezz and the Siparex Group.
The Passman group, set up in 1995 by Frédéric Levy, as well as Patrick and Sylvain Layani, provides reliable, optimal and tailor-made digital solutions for the customer service offering of hotels, campsites, retail outlets, shopping centres, care facilities (clinics, nursing homes, etc). This involves in particular bandwidth management, network sizing and security in order to protect the responsibility of the group’s clients and provide a high-quality user experience.
Its current range of solutions is the result of its considerable technical expertise and continuing investment in innovation through the work of its in-house R&D team and is based on four key products: tailor-made WiFi connections; provision of TVs connected to a user-friendly interface of a wide range of multimedia contents (TV channels, VOD, etc); public Internet access points, equipped with computers, tablets and work pods; and broadcast of multimedia contents on all types of media (terminals, TVs, monitors) within a facility, in particular for information and advertising purposes.
The group focuses mainly on high added-value activities, such as design, architecture, logistics, monitoring and hotline support, and outsources part of the installation and maintenance services. This organisational structure considerably enhances its agility and ensures a quality of service widely recognised on its market.
The Passman group, which is now in a period of consolidation, acquired in 2018 the Belgian company, Screen Services, thereby enabling it to develop its own IPTV product range and its health care client base. It has ambitious growth objectives, mainly based on organic growth, boosting international sales, developing new services and identifying strategic build-ups.
The Passman group, based in Villeurbanne, has just over 70 employees and more than 5,900 clients in France (including 3,500 hotels), which represents around 100,000 users per day. The group is present in 42 countries and generates more than 50 per cent of its revenues internationally. It had revenues of EUR27 million in 2018, with an average annual growth rate of more than 15 per cent over the past 10 years.
Jean-Marie Leroy, Partner at LBO France, says: “Our ambition is to support the company’s founders in their external growth project. We want to help them in this structuring phase to become a fully-fledged acquisitions platform. In 2018, the Group acquired its Belgian competitor Screen Services, a company specialising in digital solutions for the hotel sector and care facilities and intends to continue to pursue its international development.”
“We are proud to support one of the leading providers of digital solutions for the accommodation sector. It is a high-growth market since the needs of users are constantly evolving. To meet the increased demands of its clients, the Passman group needs to provide increasingly sophisticated solutions in terms of bandwidth levels and equipment, and our role is to support the group and its managers in this new stage of expansion.”
Frédéric Levy, co-founder of Passman, adds: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with LBO France as the Passman group enters a new phase of development. This will enable us to implement our ambitious strategy over the short and medium term. First of all, we will focus on organic growth, by continuously strengthening our historical relationships and accelerating our expansion into new high-potential segments (health, retail, etc.). Then, we will set up a dynamic acquisitions policy in order to build a benchmark European platform offering a consistent range of high added-value solutions. It is obviously a major advantage to team up with a partner such as LBO France, which will contribute its expertise as an experienced investor.” 
Stéphane Bergez, Head of ActoMezz, says: “We are particularly happy with the partnership and mutual confidence established with Frédéric Levy & Patrick Layani. The sponsorless transaction of April 2014 has been an undeniable success with the group doubling in size over the period. We sincerely thank the Passman team and LBO France for allowing us to continue this adventure alongside them, via a mezzanine financing with an equity stake, in order to take part in the next exciting chapter of Passman’s growth.”
Florent Lauzet and Cyril Fromager, Siparex Groups partners, adds: “We are proud to have supported Frédéric Levy and Patrick Layani since 2010 in the emergence and then the development of Passman, which has become a recognised leader in its market. The results achieved are remarkable and the Siparex Group remains committed to enable talented entrepreneurs to grow their businesses from the SME stage to a mid-cap company level.”