Country Netherlands
Sector Technology
Deal type Public-to-private
Investment date March 2014
Status Unrealized investment

Unit4 is a global enterprise resource planning (ERP) software vendor based in the Netherlands. Traded on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange until its delisting in 2014, the company offers financial and accounting, HR, workflow and payroll software services payroll to people-centric organizations.

With operations in 26 countries across Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and Africa, Unit4 generated revenue of € 376 million in 2019¹.


As part of Advent International’s proactive sourcing efforts in the ERP sector, we built a relationship with Unit4’s founder, Chris Ouwinga, and developed a shared ambition to take the company private and make the long-term investments needed to accelerate growth and innovation.

We made a public offer to acquire Unit4 in November 2013 and completed the transaction in March 2014. Under our ownership, we transformed Unit4 into a global leader in enterprise applications for the services economy. Previously a fragmented, founder-led business, Unit4 today is a professionally-run and centralized global organization.


Our transformation of the business focused on two key initiatives: Transition to Software as a Service (SaaS) and transform operations to drive margins toward industry best practice.

Following on from this, SaaS transition accelerated recurring sales and bookings growth, evidenced by ~21% SaaS revenue and 23%+ SaaS bookings CAGR since entry (FY'13 to FY'18). The product portfolio was transformed to include cloud delivery capabilities powered by Microsoft Azure and significant new vertical functionality.

In addition to improving the functionality, we helped the business to complete numerous add-on acquisitions, including: Three Rivers (2015), a leading, US-based student information system software vendor; Prevero (2016), a provider of corporate performance management & analytics; Assistance Software (2017), a leading professional services automation software vendor built in Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM; and Inuto (2019), a fast-growing provider of engagement and talent enablement solutions.

In April 2019, the business appointed Mike Ettling as Group CEO, having previously served as the President of SAP Successfactors, a leading provider of human capital management SaaS, bringing with him a wealth of expertise and insight across cloud-based technologies and business applications.

¹All financial metrics refer to Unit4’s Global Division

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