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DXC Bets $2bn on Recovery of Luxoft to Scale its Digital Capabilities

Yesterday morning, DXC announced its intended acquisition of Luxoft in an all cash transaction of $59 per share, around $2bn. This represents a 48% premium over Luxoft’s average closing share price over the previous ninety days (and ~86% premium on Friday’s closing price). The deal is expected to close by end June 2019.

In recent years DXC (including as CSC) has made a number of acquisitions that have expanded its ServiceNow, Microsoft Dynamics, and recently Salesforce capabilities and formed the bedrock of its Enterprise & Cloud Apps (ECA) practices. This is different: the Luxoft transaction is closer in feel to its 2016 acquisition of Xchanging, which brought in Insurance sector capabilities, or the more recent acquisition in the U.S. of Molina Medicaid Solutions. In all three cases, DXC is acquiring a company that has specific issues and challenges but that also expands DXC’s own industry capabilities; Luxoft will in addition expand DXC’s capabilities around Agile/DevOps.

Luxoft is a company in transformation

With revenues of $907m in FY18 (the year ended March 31, 2018) and nearly 13k personnel, Luxoft is a mid-sized firm. DXC is presenting Luxoft as a “digital innovator”, but it is a company that is grappling with significant client-specific and market challenges. Until FY17, it was highly successful, enjoying revenue growth in the range of 20% to 30%. FY18 saw a slowdown, still to a very solid level of 15.4% (of which we estimate ~7% organic), but FY19 has seen flat growth.

In particular, Luxoft has been hit hard by its dependency on the investment banking/capital markets sector, in particular on two clients: UBS and Deutsche Bank. Back in FY15 they accounted for over 56% of Luxoft’s total revenues (~$294m). Since then, Luxoft has been growing its share of wallet in other key accounts, and the combined revenues from clients 3 to 10 have increased from $123m in FT15 to ~$208m in FY18, a CAGR of ~19%, with clients 5 to 10 growing at nearly 30%. In FY19 Luxoft is expecting around 13% revenue growth from these accounts (to, we estimate, ~$235m).

But while it has been very strong growth in its other top 10 accounts, Luxoft has since FY18 been impacted by declining revenues at both UBS and Deutsche Bank (the later by 13.4%). H1 FY19 saw a 11% y/y decline and these two accounts now account for just over 30% of total revenues. Both have been insourcing some talent. While Luxoft believes that the UBS account is now stabilizing, Deutsche Bank is more challenged, and the account remains an issue: revenues are likely to decline by ~44% in FY19 to ~$90m, or <10% of total revenue, with a further contraction in FY20.

Outside these two, Credit Suisse is also a major client and Luxoft is clearly exposed to the slowdown in the European capital markets/investment banking sector. But elsewhere in financial services, there are much stronger opportunities in the near-term in the wealth and asset management sector, particularly in the U.S. and there is the potential for DXC to help Luxoft expand its presence in the Australian banking sector.

Luxoft has been looking to diversify its sector capabilities in recent years, in particular beefing up its offerings to the automotive sector, developing relationships, mostly in Europe, with tier-one OEMs and suppliers such as Daimler, Continental, and Valeo. Automotive & Transport is a hyper growth business for Luxoft, delivering nearly 43% growth in FY18, but for a company the size of DXC, this is a small business it is picking up: FY18 revenues were $158m. (FY19 revenues are likely be ~$220m, boosted by Luxoft’s acquisition of embedded software specialist Objective Software, which has brought in some U.S. client relationships. Some of these are large accounts (four of the top 10 accounts are in the automotive sector.  And one is a common account to both DXC and Luxoft.

In its Digital Enterprise unit, which is servicing all other verticals, Luxoft has been driving its offerings to more digital offerings, at the same time looking to reduce its exposure to low-margin work. Revenue performance in the Digital Enterprise Unit has been erratic with a strong performance in FY18 followed by a 13% decline in H1 FY19 though Luxoft claims to be confident that it has completed the transformation of the unit.

In brief, among the capabilities that Luxoft will bring to DXC we see:

  • Significant agile development capabilities, enhancing DXC’s application services business.
  • Some analytics capabilities
  • Some product engineering services capabilities in the automotive sector, plus some experience in IoT-centric projects
  • Offerings around UX design (in June 2018, Luxoft acquired Seattle-based design agency Smashing Ideas from Penguin Random House).

Luxoft has also been developing its capabilities in blockchain, an area where we suspect DXC has little experience, with pilots in the healthcare, government (evolving in Switzerland) and automotive sectors.

And, of course, Luxoft has a sizeable nearshore delivery capability in Eastern Europe. Luxoft’s delivery network has its roots in Ukraine and Russia. In reaction to the 2014 Ukraine-Russia crisis, the company initiated its Global Upgrade program with the intent of de-risking its profile and increasing its presence in other nearshore locations, in particular in Romania and Poland. Since FY14, Luxoft has decreased its headcount in Ukraine from 3.6k to 3.1k and in Russia headcount from 2.3k to 1.9k.  In parallel, Luxoft has significantly increased its presence onshore with now 1k personnel in North America and made its delivery network far less risky for clients. DXC highlights that it will be able to help Luxoft scale its delivery footprint in The Americas and India.

DXC is betting Luxoft will help accelerate its topline growth

While Luxoft has been grappling with declining margins – partly, but not solely due to the declines at Deutsche Bank and pricing pressures in other accounts – DXC is emphasizing the topline opportunities, rather than cost synergies. Given DXC’s track record in stripping out costs, we imagine Luxoft employees will be glad to hear this.

DXC is targeting revenue growth from:

  • Luxoft achieving 15% revenue growth over the next three years
  • Revenue synergies of $300 to $400m over this period, representing 1% to 2% of additional revenue growth for DXC

To achieve this, DXC is looking to cross-sell, for example, the:

  • Product engineering capabilities of Luxoft to North American and Asian automotive clients and other sectors, e.g., high-tech, manufacturing and healthcare in priority
  • Digital capabilities of Luxoft into DXC’s client base. DXC claims that all of Luxoft’s business is, by its definition, digital, thus adding nearly $1bn in revenues to DXC's own $4bn digital business, and expects to grow this $5bn business by another 20% annually
  • Managed cloud and digital workplace capabilities of DXC into the Luxoft base (where, however, there are typically well entrenched incumbents).

DXC is also looking to broaden the use of Luxoft assets, taking FS and automotive capabilities and applying these to industries where Luxoft has not historically had a large presence. As an example, Luxoft has developed data visualization assets for FS clients, capabilities it believes that could be applied to other sectors.

How will DXC and Luxoft Integrate?

One key question is how DXC will manage the integration. In the short term at least, Luxoft will remain an independent company, retaining its brand and senior leadership (DXC intends to have retention plans in place for key Luxoft execs). For DXC to ultimately position as an end-to-end and global IT services organization, able to offer clients a full spectrum of services ranging from digital transformation advisory and concept testing through to IT modernization in all its key geographies and target markets, there will need to at least appear to be an integrated go-to-market and also a standardized global delivery operation that leverage this newly acquired assets.

David McIntire, Dominique Raviart, Rachael Stormonth

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