Global tax software firm acquires Istanbul-based business set up by Turkish Cypriot

A digital invoice company set up by a Turkish Cypriot in Istanbul 20 years ago has been acquired by an industry “global leader”, it has been revealed.

Tax software firm Sovos, which has offices in the US, South America, London, Stockholm and Amsterdam, announced on Tuesday, 28 May, that it had acquired Foriba, a “leading regulatory technologies company”.

Sovos is owned by Hg, a London-based “specialist private equity investor focused on software and service businesses”.

The value and details of the deal were not disclosed.

Foriba, which also has offices in Milan and Boston, specialises in providing e-invoices and also helps firms with their VAT returns.

It “creates, signs and stores more than 30 million electronic documents per month” and is one of Turkey’s “leading providers” in its field, Sovos said in a press release.

Turkey has “complex and mandatory digital VAT controls” and is one of the few countries outside South America with a “mature e-invoicing mandate”, it added.

“With Spain, Hungary, Portugal, the UK, Italy and other countries investing in real-time and near-real-time transaction control requirements, Sovos will use Foriba’s experience to help customers address this new wave of digital taxation.”

John Gledhill, vice president of corporate development for Sovos, said: “Turkey is a major world trade centre, where many of the world’s best-known brands have significant presence.”

He paid tribute to Foriba’s “entrepreneurial spirit” and said it was a “cultural fit” with Sovos.

Ahmet Bilgen, via Twitter


Foriba was set up by Turkish Cypriot entrepreneur and chief executive Ahmet Bilgen in 1999 in Istanbul, according to a report in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) daily Kıbrıs, which described the acquisition by Sovos as a “great success” for the businessman.

The paper says that he was born in 1970 in Gazimağusa and graduated from the town’s Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) in 1993 with a degree in applied mathematics and computer science.

He gained a master’s degree from EMU before moving to Istanbul in 1995.

Mr Bilgen established Foriba four years later with four friends, according to Kıbrıs, and is said to employ over 500 people, “many of whom are TRNC university graduates”.