The acquisition of Beyond brings together complementary skillsets that expands Syntax’s geographic reach, and strengthens them in key areas, including scaling out their French language facilities.
Today, two Montréal-based SAP solution providers formally joined forces, with the acquisition of Beyond Technologies by Syntax Systems. The deal, which was first announced a month ago, brings together significant synergies, as each company has operational, programmatic and geographic strengths that the other previously lacked. Christian Primeau, Global CEO of Syntax, which is a portfolio company of Montréal-based private equity firm Novacap, will continue in that role.
The origins of this deal lie in Syntax’s last major acquisition, which was Illumiti in 2021, and was part of the company’s broader transition from a solution partner with an Oracle focus to one where SAP played a principal role.
“We originally went into the SAP ecosystem in 2019 when we bought a German based firm, Freudenberg IT,” Primeau told ChannelBuzz. “We knew that we were still missing important capabilities in North America around SAP professional services and managed services. So we embarked on a dating game, talking with prospective acquisition targets. This included both Ilumiti and Beyond Technologies, and we had initial conversations with them both in 2019.”
Primeau said that at that time, Beyond Technologies was not ready.
“They had struck a deal with CDPQ [Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec] where CDPQ got a minority interest,” Primeau said. “We continued talking, and there came a time earlier this year where we felt the timing was right.”
Primeau emphasized that the two sets of offerings are very complementary.
“Even though we do same thing in the SAP ecosystem, they are highly focused on retail, distribution and life sciences, while we are strong in construction, mining, and manufacturing [particularly digital manufacturing from our Freudenberg acquisition], he said. “So this fits well with our deep vertical expertise.”
Primeau also noted that Beyond has practice elements where Syntax didn’t have capability at scale.
“They had very deep expertise in FP&A [Financial planning and analysis] around SAP, which we did not,” he said. “We have a practice around SAP Success Factors, which they did not.”
The combined forces of Syntax and Beyond creates a team of more than 2,800 experts serving more than 900 mid-market and large enterprise clients globally with 26 offices across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia.
“Beyond has about 450 of those employees, who are mainly based in Canada, the U.S., France and South Africa,” Primeau said, noting that Syntax was strong in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Slovakia, Spain and India. “Syntax has not been in France much. We didn’t have a lot of capability on the functional side around the French language, which hurt us there. We were not in South Africa before – even though we are strong in mining.”
Primeau also noted that with the acquisition, Syntax can now conduct business at scale in English, France, Spanish and German.
“We believe we are now the largest mid-market focused SAP partner in Canada,” Primeau said. “We don’t aspire to be the next Accenture or Deloitte. We love to say that we are ‘boutique at scale.’
Illumiti retained brand identity, and while a final decision has not been made with Beyond, it seems likely the same thing will be done.
“Our priority first and foremost is to retain value,” Primeau indicated. “Beyond has a very strong brand equity in Quebec and strong equity around retail in other places. We need to make sure we understand the right brand strategy going forward.”
Luc Dubois, who had been Partner and CEO of Beyond Technologies, will continue to be the CEO of Beyond Technologies.
“We have acquired six companies in six years and our M&A strategy has been all about capabilities and reach,” Primeau said. “Our acquisitions are not cost synergy centric. In all six acqusitions, all but one of the partners we acquired is still with the company, and that individual elected to retire.
“Luc and his partner team are shareholders of Syntax now,” Primeau added. “We think that with the combination of Syntax and Beyond, we are an even better partner for SAP.”