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Storyblok rebuffs takeover approaches, could make acquisitions after two years – executive

  • US, UK and DACH region eyed for future buys
  • Active talks with JPMorgan and HSBC on potential debt instrument options as part of growth plans

Storyblok, an Austria-based provider of content management systems (CMS), could grow through acquisitions in two years’ time and has been rebuffing recent takeover offers from both funds and corporates, Lydia Kothmeier, VP of Operations, told this news service.

The company is focusing on its core offering but may consider smaller buys that complement its existing product and support services. But any significant acquisitions would only take place after two years, said Kothmeier, an experienced M&A professional at EOSS prior to joining Storyblok in 2020.

Acquisitions could be in the US, where the company hopes to grow its regional showing from 20% to 50% of total revenue, she said. It could also look in the UK for acquisitions given the company is seeing good growth there as well as DACH, she added.

While Storyblok is not likely to look at targets such as e-commerce systems or search platforms, it could look to opportunities that enhance its end-to-end content platform and overall content management process, Kothmeier said. The company’s approach is highly selective, ensuring any potential acquisitions make sense for the business and its market position; there are no targets that currently match its needs, the VP said.

Last month, Storyblok closed an USD 80m Series C funding round, bringing the total amount raised to date to USD 138m and will enable it to reach a break-even position, she said.

The round was led by Brighton Park Capital. Existing investors like HV Capital, Mubadala Capital, 3VC, and firstminute capital also participated in the round, as per the company’s release.

Exit and debt options

Storyblok’s decision to reject both recent and earlier takeover offers reflects a strategic choice to maintain independence and focus on innovation, Kothmeier said. She declined to name these entities or provide other details on the approaches.

The founders are committed to further grow the company before any exit, she said.

However, there could be some type of exit event, a sale or an IPO, after five years.

“When you work with venture capital companies, or when you get third parties involved, there’s always the scenario for exit that has to be decided in the future. I would say within a time frame of five to 10 years depending also on the goals of our investors,” she added.

No further fundraising rounds are envisaged, but this week the company had active conversations with JPMorgan and HSBC regarding potential future debt instruments it might look at, she said. Board approval would be required for significant financial decisions, she noted.

Factors like investment size, duration, regional market conditions, and prevailing interest rates will influence the choice of financing instruments, she said, so the specific instruments and time frames have not been discussed yet, Kothmeier noted.

As well as existing partners JPMorgan or HSBC, Storyblok also worked in its recent C round, with Austria’s Schoenherr as legal adviser, Deloitte as tax advisor, as well US player RSM, she added.

Storyblok sees considerable growth potential in helping companies consolidate multiple content management systems into a single, efficient platform, she said.

“A lot of companies still work with two to three different content management platforms within their organization and we believe that 81% are in that situation,” so this offers significant organic growth potential, she added.

By streamlining processes and reducing complexity, organizations can enhance productivity and maintain content more effectively, she said.

Leading brands such as Adidas, T-Mobile, RenaultOatly, and over 200,000 other developers and marketers across over 130 countries use Storyblok to create better content experiences, as per its release.

The company is also seeing strong interest in its services from the finance and insurance industries, Kothmeier added.

Founders Alexander Feiglstorfer and Dominik Angerer launched the firm in 2017 as a prototype which has since grown into a robust platform that supports a wide range of businesses in managing their digital content efficiently, as per its website.