Granicus acquires Firmstep

BCMS has advised the shareholders of government SaaS specialist Firmstep on its sale to Granicus, the leading provider of cloud-based software solutions and digital engagement services for the public sector. This transaction, which completed in 2019, was the first overseas acquisition for Vista Equity Partners-backed Granicus.

“We had multiple interested parties, but the BCMS team took a finely judged approach to create a competitive environment” – Brett Husbands, Firmstep

The acquisition brings together Firmstep’s proven capability and experience transitioning hundreds of UK government services and transactions online with Granicus’ leading public sector communications, government website design, and meeting management software. The Firmstep acquisition enables Granicus to significantly accelerate its mission and commitment to deliver the industry’s first and only unified civic engagement platform.

London-based Firmstep was established in 2001 and has developed the UK’s leading SaaS platform for automating government services. Firmstep works with one-in-three UK local authorities to accelerate the online migration of transactions, applications, and service requests.

Founded in 1999, Granicus is the leading US provider of cloud-based communication software and digital engagement services to help the public sector move more services online. The Minnesota-headquartered group has been backed by Vista Equity Partners since 2016.

Deal insights

“Firmstep was founded to empower UK governments to deliver easier, faster and better customer service,” said Firmstep CEO Brett Husbands. “By bringing Granicus and Firmstep together, we have the opportunity to replicate in the US the success we’ve achieved in nearly one-third of UK local governments – helping government organisations lead with a ‘digital-first’ services strategy, better serve and engage today’s modern citizens, and ensure that every interaction is streamlined and executed with automated workflow and service visibility.”

Commenting on BCMS’ role in the transaction, Husbands added: “We had decided to move quickly to a sale process having received several expressions of interest in our business, and selected BCMS as our chosen advisor for the sale of Firmstep. We saw the US market as the next key growth area, and a complexity was that one of the interested parties was a key strategic partner in that territory. It was therefore essential that any process be handled with a high degree of sensitivity.

“BCMS tailored a process that ultimately lasted just 6 months. We had multiple interested parties, but the BCMS team took a finely judged approach to create a competitive environment whilst ensuring that relationships could be preserved throughout the discussions and negotiations. Once we had established a preferred bidder, BCMS guided us though the complexities of the deal, and supported us throughout the due diligence phase to an ultimately successful conclusion.”