by Micaela Osella, Mergermarket
WM Capital, the Italian business-format franchising company, might carry out acquisitions to consolidate its position and expand its competencies, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Fabio Pasquali said. Management welcomes target proposals from advisors.
Ideal takeover candidates would be software houses and hi-tech companies that think up and develop applications and software specifically for the retail field, Pasquali said. Small consulting firms with an excellent expertise in retail and good client portfolios would also be evaluated, the executive added. Such deals could drive the company’s expansion into new countries, he said, pointing to his current effort to push internationalisation.
In two years’ time, WM Capital intends to open subsidiaries in London, New York or Washington, and Hong Kong, Pasquali said. At the same time, management is targeting 45 countries it consider to be “strategic”, he added. The US, Russia and the United Arab Emirates were indicated as the primary areas of interest, in which management intends to establish joint ventures with local players.
Consulting firms and companies operating in the publishing and real estate industries would be appealing partners, he said. They should be interested in operating in business format franchising. Since its foundation, WM Capital has developed competencies to select the right business model in industries with high growth potential, the executive said. His company has developed business franchising formats for around 600 Italian brands, he said. For this reason, striking joint ventures with these types of local players abroad would enable WM Capital to operate more competitively in those countries, Pasquali said.
WM Capital is performing well financially this year, Pasquali said. In the first half of the year, sales stood at EUR 2.2m, a 77% rise compared with the EUR 1.3m reported in the same period in 2013. In 2013, the company recorded turnover of EUR 3.5m. In December of last year, the company started trading on Aim, a segment of the Milan Stock Exchange for smaller and growing companies. Management raised EUR 1.37m from the IPO. The listing of a 12.35% stake gave WM Capital a market cap of EUR 11.1m.
WM Capital is based in Milan. It has 20 employees.