Acquisitions are usually seen as positive signs for those being acquired. Somehow, this one leaves a strange aftertaste with hints of turbulent times and notes of uncertainty for EPiServer. Customers and prospects in the US market may want to speak (and by “speak” I mean “really question”) to EPi about their future plans in this geography before planning on further investments in this Web CMS vendor.
From CMSWire: Web CMS Vendor EPiServer Acquired by a Surprising Buyer (Nov 10, 2010)
It has now been a few weeks after the change in ownership for Sweden-based Web CMS vendor EPiServer and the initial critical posting by industry publication CMSWire. Typical for this industry, the news has left many customers, including several of our members, puzzled. EPiServer was bought by a European private equity firm on November 10, but was that really a bad thing?
Here's our take from conversations with the wider community: While competitors are naturally fast to spin tales of doom, this is actually at worst a "non-event" for prospects and customers, but may well turn out to be good news.
Since the EPiServer founder sold out to investors with global ambitions back in August 2007, EPiServer has been on a rapid growth path internationally and has successfully managed the transition from founder-led to investor-led. Unlike Danish arch rival Sitecore which went big internationally much earlier, EPiServer actually did not hire their first international employee until 2006 (in Denmark) and did not set foot in the US until early 2009. Today, EPiServer has partners around the world and staff in several European locations as well as a US team with local solution architects, sales, marketing and support. Experienced integration partners may still be few and far between in certain regions, but EPiServer has certainly come a long way since the founder left the company.
Unlike most direct competitors EPiServer has effectively been using venture funding to grow the company and it is highly unlikely that the newest owner, experienced European private equity IK Investment Partners, would have bought the company without being impressed by the management team and without having a detailed plan for continued growth. Replacing family ownership and multiple venture capitalists, this new single owner, positions EPiServer well in terms of preparing for 2011 and beyond in relation to their competitors Alterian, Ektron, Kentico, Sitecore and Telerik. To customers this should mean increased investments in local sales & marketing as well as engineering.
According to LinkedIn, EPiServer has been outgrowing their nearest competitors
As this unfolding story illustrates, it is difficult to conclude what actually lies ahead for EPiServer. As a prospect or customer, our advice remains:
- select implementation partner carefully
- negotiate license and support cost, since modules and bundles can quickly get confusing and expensive
- talk to the vendor