On May 25, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that Balicki Czekanski Gryglewski Lewczuk had advised Symfonia on its acquisition of a majority stake in HRtec. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Wioletta Kaloska, General Counsel at Symfonia, to learn more about the acquisition.
CEEIHM: To start, please tell us a bit about Symfonia.
Kaloska: Symfonia is a leading ERP software provider for SME in Poland. We offer desktop and cloud solutions that support and automate finance and accounting, payroll and soft-HR processes, sales (including e-commerce), production and warehouse management, e-documents workflow, and BI, along with a full variety of professional services.
Symfonia’s history dates back to the mid-‘90s’ when the initial version of finance software had its release. It was one of the first solutions of its kind in Poland and quickly became one of the most frequently selected by small and medium-sized companies starting their digitalization.
For over 15 years Symfonia was part of the multinational software company Sage, until March 2020 when MidEuropa – a private equity firm with a focus on Central and Eastern Europe, took over 100% of the shares. Within a year, Symfonia acquired 3 companies: Reset2 – one of the leading payroll software providers in Poland, Cloud Planet & skanuj.to – a cloud-based solution provider for micro & small customer segments in Poland, and HRtec. As of now, Symfonia has a loyal customer base of over 50,000 SMEs. And we have an appetite for more.
CEEIHM: What about HRtec? What does the company do and what did you find particularly attractive in it?
Kaloska: HRtec is a provider of cloud HR management software, the creator of the Hsys software, which supports organizations with a plethora of HR tasks including recruitment, employee training and e-learning, KPI setting and monitoring, periodic assessment, and employee skills development. HRtec also operates HRanalyzer – an AI-driven solution focused on the analysis of key HR processes within organizations.
HRtec solutions are used by a diverse group of blue-chip clients including businesses such as Medicover, PLAY, Alior Bank, Smyk, Compensa, and ECHO investment. The acquisition of HRtec by Symfonia is another step in Symfonia’s long-term strategy based on solidifying its position as a leader in ERP, payroll, and HR software for SMEs in Poland. It also shows our key focus on providing cloud solutions to our customers.
CEEIHM: What are the next steps following the acquisition?
Kaloska: Our aim right now is to develop a powerful software for HR management with comprehensive functionalities. We want to be the first choice for HR teams and give them the one and only solution they will ever need – from payroll to soft HR processes. We believe that HRtec has great know-how and together, based on our joint experience, we will soon be able to offer our customers new quality of service.
CEEIHM: How was the legal work split on the deal between your in-house legal team and that of your advisors from BCGL?
Kaloska: This was our third in a row transaction with Jacek Balicki and his BCGL team so we have already our work split well-practiced. Jacek focused on drafting all transaction-related paperwork, including SHA – one of the sellers kept 25% of his shares and will remain as the CEO of the company. Therefore, we needed to have a comprehensive contract in place that sets the rules for future cooperation. We negotiated with the sellers and their advisors together. Once again, Jacek showed his excellent experience in M&A and proved to be our most trusted legal counsel. My role was to secure Symfonia’s best interests as I have a deep understanding of our business and plans for the product roadmap. I know how our business will be shaped in the foreseeable future so our potential show-stoppers are very clear to me. That allowed me to make some decisions on the spot still during negotiation sessions. That I believe, made them more productive. At the same time, still, I have my BAU work and I’m extremely grateful to Jacek that with his support I closed another acquisition while still being able to support people that create Symfonia’s business on daily basis.
CEEIHM: And why did you pick BCGL to advise you on this transaction?
Kaloska: BCGL is our first choice when it comes to M&A legal advisors. We worked together on other deals we have closed during the past months, and we plan to continue this cooperation. Symfonia and MidEuropa have an appetite for more – we are still looking for add-ons that might enrich our product portfolio and give our customers better solutions.
An earlier Deal 5 interview with Wioletta Kaloska covering Symfonia's Acquisition of Cloud Planet and Skanuj.to can be read here.