Vertex files for IPO, names new board chairman

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Vertex has filed for an IPO, riding the wave of success the Supreme Court's Wayfair decision has brought tax automation providers.

The company is following in the footsteps of competitor Avalara, which went public in 2018 just days before the decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair came down. Avalara’s bet was correct — the landmark case allows states to collect taxes on goods sold online, and has had a hand in Avalara’s booming business and stock. Vertex has its eyes on the same prize now, with the unanticipated benefit of online selling becoming more important than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vertex will trade under the ticker symbol VERX (not to be confused with pharmaceutical company Vertex, which trades as VRTX). According to an S-1 registration statement, Vertex plans to raise $100 million in the IPO of its Class A stock.

Founded in 1978, and based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, the company provides tax determination, compliance, reporting, data management and document management solutions.

While the news of Vertex’s IPO plan was made public the first week of July via the S-1 filing, the company filed confidentially on March 30. At the end of June, the board of directors named president and CEO David DeStefano to serve as chairman of the board, while former chair Jeff Westphal stepped down to serve as a member.

“This decision underscores the board’s confidence in David’s character and vision to take Vertex into the future as president and CEO, as well as chairperson of the board,” said director Ric Andersen in a statement.

Concurrently, Andersen was appointed lead independent director of the board. He has over 25 years of consulting and management experience at IBM, Price Waterhouse and PwC Consulting. His last 15 years have been spent in private equity. Andersen is currently a managing partner at Peak Equity, a Philadelphia-based private equity firm.

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