Vodnjan Infobip’s Taking Over of American Rival is Step Closer to Wall Street

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, the first, and so far the only Croatian ”unicorn”, the Vodnjan Infobip, is continuing with its ambitious expansion. After a financial injection of half a billion dollars last month, this company acquired the American Peerless Network, a global provider of VoIP (Voice over IP) services.

Although the value of the transaction remains a secret for now, it is on the trail of plans to go public in New York in late next year, or in early 2023. This latest acquisition comes after the Vodnjan Infobip company realised a 500 million US dollar loan last month with the main investors being credit funds managed by Ares Management Corporation and those managed by BlackRock, under the advisory baton of Morgan Stanley.

”This new financing places Infobip in an exclusive group of renowned high-growth and high-value technology companies, which have used a similar form of financing. This is Infobip’s second round of external financing, after a significant strategic investment by the capital investment company One Equity Partners (OEP) in the total amount of 300 million euros from the second half of last year,” the company said in a statement.

They don’t want to talk too much about the details of the transaction, stating only that the payment was made with a combination of money and shares from Infobip, as well as the fact that the management of Peerless will invest parts of its ownership shares in the Vodnjan Infobip company. The conclusion itself depends on the green light of the regulator.

By stepping into the US market, Infobip is set to inherit a lucrative piece of cake of the ”voice over IT” services market as Peerless is a leader in this segment covering over 93 percent of the US population. It has more than 4,500 interconnections in 49 (US) states and a turnover of nine billion minutes per month across more than 200 markets.

”By taking over the Peerless Network, we’re accelerating our international strategy. This is a very positive thing for Infobip from a financial, strategic and operational point of view. It enables us to grow our business even more strongly over in the USA, which is in line with the strategy of the Peerless Network,” said Silvio Kutic, the CEO and co-owner of Infobip.

“Together, we’ll offer companies and people around the world our services through a truly global network supported by local teams. Of course, the goal is to provide the best user experience on the market. We have an exciting period ahead of us and big things are just starting to happen for Infobip,” he added.

“We’re very excited about all the possibilities that the combination of Infobip and Peerless will bring. It will allowsus to scalably expand our services, capabilities and offers to our customers. By combining our market-leading voice offering and Infobip’s global messaging capabilities, we’re creating a strong foundation to become a leader in the fast-growing cloud communications market,” said John Barnicle, CEO of Peerless Network.

“This acquisition will, among other things, enable Peerless Network to provide comprehensive support to its customers who have business needs outside of the United States,” he added.

The range of services boasted by the Vodnjan Infobip company enables companies to communicate with a large number of their customers via messages, e-mail or chatbots. Among their clients are massive world names such as Uber, LG, Sberbank, and their services are also used (among recreational athletes) by the very popular Strava application. Peerless, on the other hand, brings a narrower segment of communication, VoIP, under the umbrella of Infobip.

Thus, the joint solutions of the two companies would ultimately be able to process more than 30 billion monthly user interactions across a full range of communication channels in more than 190 countries around the world.

When asked whether the acquisition of Peerless completely exhausted the aforementioned financial injection, Infobip didn’t want to specify. It is to be assumed that this is not the case since it was previously announced that they would consider several acquisitions before going public, and it was confirmed to Bloomberg that “the takeover cycle isn’t over”.

Plans for an initial public offering of shares on the New York Stock Exchange are in full swing, and if we briefly recall, the CEO and co-owner Silvio Kutic told Bloomberg back in May that after the completion of funding (the latest rounds) the company could be ready for an IPO in the next 18 to 20 months.

In the first quarter of the year, the Vodnjan Infobip company’s revenue grew 57 percent compared to the same quarter last year thanks to the acquisition of OpenMarkets, after which the valuation exceeded 1 billion US dollars, seeing Infobip crowned with the prestigious status of a unicorn. This year, they also took over the Croatian Shift franchise and the world’s leading SMS firewall service provider, Anam Technologies from Ireland.

Infobip’s expected revenues this year should amount to 1.2 billion euros, repesenting very rapid growth compared to last year’s level of about 720 million euros, or about 600 million euros achieved back in pre-pandemic 2019.

For more, check out our business section.


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