On July 12, 2021, US language service provider (LSP) Big Language Solutions (BIG) announced the acquisition of UK life science translation specialist Dora Wirth Languages (DWL). Terms of the transaction, which closed on July 1, 2021, were not disclosed.
BIG CEO Jeff Brink told Slator that before it was sold, DWL was owned by Samuel and Lynda Wirth. Samuel, who led DWL as Managing Director, will retain an advisory role, while “the entire management team at DWL will remain in place and continue to run the business as usual,” said Brink . DWL will retain its brand and be co-branded as the BIG Language Company.
DWL is a long-standing LSP that has been around for almost 60 years. Samuel Wirth’s mother, Dora, gave her name to the company she founded in the 1960s.
Brink, meanwhile, founded BIG with backing from private equity firm MSouth Equity Partners in mid-2019. The team then entered into a series of deals as part of its buy and build strategy, acquiring LSP Protranslating in 2019, healthcare specialist ISI in September 2020, and provider of telephone interpretation (OPI). Language Link in April 2021.
DWL is BIG’s first acquisition of a company based outside of the United States. Although the pandemic has temporarily slowed down BIG’s international M&A activity, Brink and his company are now “extremely active” on this front.
“Over the next 18 months, we plan to enter into several international agreements to complement our existing global footprint established by the BIG family of companies,” Brink told Slator. He hopes to reach $ 90 million in revenue by the end of 2021, but said that “depends in part on the timing of subsequent acquisitions.”
Life Sciences & Europe
The DWL Life Sciences Store brings substantial expertise in one of the language industry’s most complex and regulated markets.
Working exclusively in the life sciences market, DWL primarily serves clients in the pharmaceutical, contract research organization (CRO) and medical device segments. DWL also has medical staff among its employees – as well as project managers, quality control staff and senior management – and has very little overlap with BIG’s existing client portfolio.
According to Brink, DWL’s established reputation among life science clients was a key factor in the acquisition: “This agreement strengthens BIG’s life sciences offering and expands our European footprint. We also believe that BIG’s LanguageVault platform will create tremendous differentiation in the life sciences market.
Brink described life science customers as prioritizing “precision and safety” and said that “while quality will always be essential in this vertical industry, mature buyers are also looking for technology-driven solutions that enable automation. increased while maintaining high levels of quality and data protection. . “
He added: “Distribution service providers who wish to compete in this vertical sector will need to provide tools that meet these requirements. “
Half a century with DWL
The former Managing Director of DWL Wirth had spent almost 50 years working for the company founded by his mother, after joining the company in 1973. He said his proudest achievement is to “transform the company into a highly respected, albeit boutique, niche LSP ”.
Wirth noted the evolution of language technology over the decades, saying that at one point, “twice daily mail delivery dictated the pace of business!” DWL has seen the “full range” of technology, Wirth said, “manual typewriters, IBM golf ball typewriters, telex, word processors, modems, fax machines, Sinclair software. , WordPerfect software, Word software, and now CAT and NMT “.
According to Wirth, DWL achieved a record turnover in 2020 and it makes sense to sell the business at this point so that the business can “take it to the next level of selling.” He added that being part of a larger organization “will give our excellent and dedicated staff the career opportunities they deserve.”
Wirth also described his experience connecting with Brink and BIG CFO Dave Perlman, who were “a pleasure to work with” and with whom he found “an instant relationship”.
He recalled that “after many failed approaches to companies ranging from outright quacks to established LSPs led by MBAs and EBITDA-obsessed CFOs, we were fortunate to be approached by BLS. They instinctively understood the great potential of DWL which, in the right company, with investments, will become a major player complementary to the other companies of the BLS group.
To Brink and Perlman, Wirth said that DWL has found a home with a “great team” who are “well on their way to building a very successful organization that will be a major force to be reckoned with in the industry.”