Lexmark doubles down on software

Contact: Brenon Daly

A half-decade into a software shopping spree, Lexmark has announced its largest consolidation, dropping $1bn on Kofax. The price roughly equals the total amount the company has spent on a dozen software firms since it established a software platform with the $280m purchase of Perceptive Software in May 2010. (Lexmark still refers to its software unit, which generated slightly less than a dime of every dollar of overall sales last year, as ‘Perceptive Software.’)

The Kofax buy, which is slated to close next quarter, would essentially double Lexmark’s software business. In 2014, that division generated $313m of sales, a touch more than the amount Kofax put up. However, the vast majority of Lexmark’s growth in software has come through M&A. On an organic basis, Lexmark has indicated that software revenue increased just 3% last year. For its part, Kofax has been growing at about twice that rate, although that has also been boosted by acquisitions. (Kofax announced four deals over the past two years.) Still, both companies are lagging the roughly 10% overall growth rates in the ECM and BPM markets that they serve.

At $1bn enterprise value, Lexmark is valuing Kofax at about 3.3x trailing sales. That’s exactly the multiple it paid for Perceptive but a full turn higher than its other significant deal, the $264m pickup of ReadSoft last May. To pay for its baker’s dozen of software transactions, Lexmark has funneled off cash from its legacy printer business. It plans to cover about $700m of the purchase of Bermuda-domiciled Kofax with offshore cash and borrow the remaining $300m at slightly more than a 1% rate. Goldman Sachs & Co advised Lexmark, while Lazard banked Kofax.

Like other hardware – and specifically, printer – providers, Lexmark has looked to buy its way out of that declining and low-margin market. (Its software business runs at a gross margin in the high-60% range, a full 30 basis points higher than the rest of the company.) Lexmark has been relatively focused in its M&A, targeting two core markets, while HP, for instance, has bought across a broad swath of the enterprise software sector, including application and data management, information security and datacenter technology. However, the Kofax acquisition is much larger and broader than any business Lexmark has nabbed so far.

We’ll have a full report on this transaction in tomorrow’s 451 Market Insight.

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