An orange circle and a purple circle represent connectivity.

Black and white photograph of AEP's CEO Saverio BettiniAEP Ticketing Solutions: A Modaxo Acquisition Story

“We needed to grant a long-term future to the company, our employees and our customers,” – Saverio Bettini, CEO and Former Owner, AEP

Meeting with AEP CEO Saverio Bettini is a pleasant experience – he exudes warmth and integrity. So when he talks about his concern for AEP’s people and customers through the sale of his business, you believe him.

“I am the youngest of AEP’s three owners – and I am no longer very young,” laughs Saverio, of the decision to sell AEP to Modaxo in 2021. “We needed to grant a long-term future to the company, our employees and our customers.”

Key Consideration 1: Public Transport Focus

Saverio explains that the quest for the right long-term home for AEP led to Modaxo:

“We chose Modaxo because of its focus on the public transportation market. That was very important for us. With other acquirers it seemed that they could buy anyone: we would be part of a large conglomerate, but we would be on our own.”

“With Modaxo we knew we would join other companies working in the public transport sector. We saw the opportunity to cross sell and utilise other products and services to expand our business. That appealed to us. We have good products and solutions, and with Modaxo we would have the chance to reach new markets.”

Key Consideration 2: The AEP Family

Saverio describes the AEP team as a family, so it is not surprising that team security was at the forefront of his thinking through the acquisition process:

“Looking after our people was my main concern. We wanted to leave our people – our family – with a good organisation where they can learn and continue to work – and to move within the group if that is what they want.”

Pre-acquisition discussions were open and helpful:

“Modaxo connected me with another Italian company, Binary System. I had very open conversations with Binary’s CEO regarding his experience of selling to Modaxo. He explained how things have worked out following the acquisition, which helped me to understand how it would be for our team.”

The Acquisition Process

Saverio describes an efficient acquisition process:

“Though we had been talking previously, we effectively had to start again after Covid, so discussions really began in February 2021 and were completed in November the same year. The process was straight forward and exactly as was depicted in the beginning: we were asked to provide information in a particular format, with a clear structure to follow.”

“We were impressed by the questions Modaxo asked and their way doing things. Our business is quite different from the Modaxo standard, but the questions the team was asking made it clear that they were making every effort to understand our business.”

And Saverio is particularly positive about the Modaxo’s fairness and transparency in relation to valuation:

“The Modaxo approach to valuation was open and fair. They didn’t try to cheat or squeeze us at the last moment. Modaxo kept the same evaluation, with documented rules covering any adjustments.”

“We have had discussions with other acquirers where there seemed to be a strategy to offer a price and then reduce it later for different reasons. The Modaxo approach was different.”

Post-Acquisition Review

A year in, has Modaxo team delivered on the promises that were made through the acquisition process?

“Modaxo is delivering the opportunities we hoped for. In the past we were limited in terms of our reach but working as part of Modaxo we have already developed good relationships with businesses in Europe and North America.”

And Saverio also comments positively on having found a good home for AEP’s people:

“Modaxo places great value on people, and its way of treating people and companies is very good. Working together we have created a reorganisation path that totally changes the structure of AEP, with key people assigned to lead each area of the business.”

But what about the adaptation from owner to employee manager? Saverio says Modaxo’s decentralised model is the right combination of autonomy and group-level support:

“I still control the business. There is a requirement to deliver results, of course, but Modaxo also provides best practices to support, including leadership network, processes, standardisation and project control.”

AEP: Today and into the Future

Saverio says that one of the most positive aspects of Modaxo is working with other leaders:

“I have enjoyed working with Modaxo’s other business leaders. It is a very good environment, full of people I respect. I am able to work with people who are close to their businesses, to share very good ideas on how to handle situations and experiences.”

“My only disappointment is not to have joined sooner. I would have loved to stay in such a group for many years – it is a good community from which to learn.”

Saverio feels that the experience over the past year has validated the decision to join Modaxo:

“We chose Modaxo because it was business-oriented, not finance-oriented: the strategy to focus on the public transportation market was very important for us. We can now see that Modaxo is a good home for our people, and I am fully convinced that we made the right choice.”

Keep Exploring