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M&A: EQS Group Acquires Data Legal Drive, Gains GDPR Compliance Software

July 4, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

EQS Group, a sustainability software provider backed by private equity firm Thoma Bravo, is acquiring Data Legal Drive. EQS will gain SaaS-based software that helps customers to address GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This is M&A deal number 242 that Sustainable Tech Partner has covered so far in 2024. See all M&A deals involving sustainability, climate tech and green IT services listed here.

EQS Group Acquires GDPR Compliance Software: Business Backgrounds

Data Legal Drive, founded in 2018, is based in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. The company develops software for GDPR and anti-corruption compliance. Data Legal Drive has more than 10,000 customers and an associated partner program.

EQS Group, founded in 2000, is based in Munich, Germany. Private equity firm Thoma Bravo has owned EQS Group since February 2024. The software company, backed by roughly 600 employees, allows customers to manage corporate compliance and investor relations tasks.

Achim Weick, CEO, EQS Group
Achim Weick, CEO, EQS Group

EQS's software also allows customers to comply with the German Whistleblower Protection Act. More than 2,800 new customers adopted EQS's software in 2023 to comply with that act, the company said in December 2023.

EQS attempted to further expand into the ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) market when it tried to acquire DFGE in February 2022, but that deal was scrapped because the parties couldn't agree on deal terms. As a result, EQS Group launched a dedicated ESG software group led by Deloitte Germany veteran Thomas Krick, EQS Group disclosed in May 2022.

Data Legal Drive Acquired: Executive Perspectives

In a prepared statement about the Data Legal Drive acquisition, EQS Group CEO Achim Weick said: “The acquisition of Data Legal Drive will be a significant milestone for EQS Group and will bolster our expertise, particularly for GDPR compliance. Since the regulation came into force in 2018, the cumulative fines exceeded €4 billion, highlighting the ongoing demand for GDPR support. With our collective track record in compliance and technology innovation, we will be in an ideal position to expand our services and address our customers’ compliance needs even more comprehensively. We look forward to welcoming Data Legal Drive’s employees and customers to the EQS family as we work together to reinforce our leading position in the compliance SaaS market.”

Sylvain Staub, CEO, Data Legal Drive

Added Sylvain Staub, founder and CEO of Data Legal Drive: “With the experience of EQS Group in building a comprehensive compliance platform, we believe they are the ideal partner for our next stage of growth. Our strategy is to become the leader in compliance in Europe. Given the potential of our respective targets, we were convinced that EQS Group was what we were looking for to achieve significant growth in this business. The power of our combined expertise and services, both in compliance and digital innovation, will bring immense additional value to our customers.”

The buyer expects to finalize the deal in "the coming weeks," according to a July 4, 2024, announcement.

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