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How Mergers and Acquisitions Enabled Comviva to Charter a Global Course

To say that the past two decades have been eventful for our business would be an understatement. And why not? From providing communication solutions to transforming global communities, we’ve come a long way. Today, Comviva has a global footprint spanning over 95 countries serving over two billion consumers.

In fact, the company’s next success story is already being scripted. Our ambitions are lofty, yet necessary. We intend to, for instance, double our size and expand our transformational product footprint. How? By opting for a judicious mix of organic and inorganic growth routes!

This brings me to the point of this blog, the role a company’s chief financial officer (CFO) plays in this respect. In our context, it’s quite straightforward, really. The CFO plays a vital role in shaping Comviva’s mergers and acquisitions (M&A) ambitions. Number crunching aside, the bigger aim is to mold the company’s strategies in this direction as well.

Needless to say, a proven track record comes in handy. Permit me to highlight ours briefly-we acquired CellCloud in 2002, Jataayu Software in 2007, ATS in 2016 and Emagine International in 2017. In addition to this, two asset purchases were successfully executed, in 2015 and 2018 respectively.

Of course, the point isn’t merely to identify and execute the acquisition process. It’s about paying attention to the finer details as well. For instance, in most cases, Comviva has successfully retained most of the acquired company’s leadership to create a joint entity. However, this is only possible if an orchestrated effort is made by both, the company’s leadership and all product and support units.

On a separate note, our efforts in this direction have taken an interesting turn. We have not just ensured geographical expansion but garnered global interest as well. Here’s how-an Ivy League business school has deemed the stories of our acquisitions noteworthy enough to convert to a case study. While it is still too early to divulge more details in this respect, I hope you will stay tuned for more!

Going forward, the company’s M&A plans are firmly in the spotlight. We are focusing on consolidating operations in our existing markets. This includes Latin America, Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South and South East Asia and Australia and New Zealand. We are also looking to expand our footprint to Western Europe. In these cases, we typically examine the possibility of either a majority or 100 per cent buyouts. In this context, it is pertinent to note that companies with a topline ranging from $20-$50 million are the “sweet spot” for implementing our strategy.

That apart, we’ve also chalked out a strategy for our product portfolios. The company is, in this context, currently in conversation with players in multiple domains. These include analytics (banking and retail), enterprise messaging (including marketing automation) and payments (digital banking). Another additional aspect is collaborating with entities which are likely to contribute significantly to this process, namely, our investment bankers, consultants, et all.

This is, of course, merely the beginning. We’ve a long way to go, yet are poised to counter the challenges likely on our journey to be reckoned as a truly global mobility player.  

 

Neeraj Jain

CFO at COMVIVA TECHNOLOGIES LTD

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