Behind the Scenes – Selling a Mid-Market Business to a Public Company

About the Episode

When a company is sold, the relationship between the parties has a significant impact on the success of the transaction. We discuss the sale of XPS Technologies, a private shipping software company, by Descartes, a publicly traded firm with a $5.9 billion market cap, and share perspectives on the acquisition process from both sides of the table. We discuss Descartes’ acquisition strategy and how XPS fit into it, the synergies each business looked for, key lessons learned from the acquisition, and advice to entrepreneurs who want to exit their companies.

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In this Episode

1:20 What does XPS Technologies do?
7:07 Why was XPS Technologies sold?
8:02 What does Descartes do?
10:56 What kind of synergy happened after the acquisition?
15:45 Key lessons learned from the acquisition
23:50 How can companies assess cultural fitness without meeting face-to-face?
26:10 What is the acquisition strategy in acquiring XPS Tech?
33:25 Advice to founders and entrepreneurs who want to exit
45:05 How to prepare the financial statements
47:24 Is the quality of earnings report necessary in mergers and acquisitions?
53:45 In the purchase agreement, what role do the reps and warranties play?

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Meet Our Guest

Erik Olafsson

Erik Olafsson

Founder of XPS Technologies

Erik Olafsson is a founder of XPS Technologies, an e-commerce shipping solutions company recently acquired by Descartes. An experienced entrepreneur, Erik started his career in investment banking and has worked in financial services and the software industry. At XPS, Erik led all operations, including maintaining and developing carrier partnerships, overseeing program implementation and financials, and developing channels for customer acquisition. Erik holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in finance from the University of Utah.

Location Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Website Website:

Meet Our Guest

Erik Olafsson

Erik Olafsson

Executive Vice President of Corporate Development with Descartes

Ed Gardner is Executive Vice President of Corporate Development with Descartes, an SaaS solutions provider, where he is responsible for the development and execution of Descartes’ M&A strategy. Before joining Descartes in 2003, Ed’s previous work included both practical logistics experience, where he worked in a senior leadership position at a third-party logistics provider, as well as deal execution and integration experience as part of Ernst & Young’s Transaction Advisory Services practice in London, England.

Location Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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