A new Attensity Group has been created in a complex set of maneuvers. So far as I understand or guess, elements of the deal include:
- The Attensity Group is being formed by the merger of three companies: Attensity, empolis, and Living-e. Frankly, I’d never heard of either empolis or Living-e until this merger. (In case you ever have to resort to the Wayback Machine, embolis’ URL was http://www.empolis.com/home.html and Living-e’s was http://www.living-e.com/us/index.php)
- Existing investors (employees aside) have largely been bought out. Most of the stock is owned by Aeris, an investment vehicle for SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira. Living-e already was a Tschira investment.
- Inxight managers have been brought in to run the whole thing. Specifically, Ian Bonner will be CEO, and Ian Hersey will be EVP of Products and Technology.
- The former CEOs of Attensity and empolis will run the Americas and EMEA regions, under the Attensity and empolis names respectively, apparently with their prior sales organizations more or less intact.
- A former CEO of Living-e will be their boss, but also run “Special Projects”, which adds up to a very odd title indeed: “Senior Vice President of Operations and Strategic Projects, Attensity Group”
- The former CTOs of Attensity and empolis are CTOs of system software (“Natural Language Processing”) and application software respectively. This gets Attensity’s total CTO count up to 3, a level I’ve previously seen only at Teradata. I haven’t talked with David Bean yet, but his colleagues insist that he’s excited about his new role.
- This whole deal has been underway since at least late last year. For example, Ian Bonner has been involved for that long. empolis and Living-e announced the pooling of their sales forces back in February.
- Technically, the merger isn’t complete, as Living-e is a public company and all 100% of its shares haven’t been acquired yet. (But they will be Real Soon Now.)
- Attensity, of course, was a venture-backed private company, with tired investors. empolis was owned by Bertelsmann, and was itself a roll-up of several smaller text analytics companies.
I was told on the phone empolis was doing something like €30-40 million. Attensity and Living-e were under $10 million each. That surprises me a bit, as I thought Attensity was in that range on commercial business alone, and was doing more than $10 million counting its government accounts.
It turns out that if I had been paying attention to the news filters I could have seen this coming. Specifically, a March 16, 2009 story said:
German media giant Bertelsmann has confirmed the sale of its software development unit empolis to data management holding Attensity empolis Europe.
Attensity empolis Europe is based in Switzerland and part of the holding company founded by former IBM manager Ian Bonner.
A Bertelsmann spokesperson told Handelsblatt that empolis, which develops software for semantic analysis, did not fit in strategically anymore. empolis was part of Bertelsmann subsidiary Arvato employing 200 people with revenues of around €30m.
Attensity’s acquisition of empolis adds to the recent takeover of Living-e which was acquired in December 2008 for a symbolic price of one euro after its former majority shareholder Klaus Tschira, one of the SAP founders, was not willing in invest more money.
Tschira, however, is still intent on investing in Attensity empolis which was part of the agreement on Living-e. His portfolio includes holdings in 26 companies with combined revenues of €200m.
I don’t immediately know how to reconcile the apparent contradictions between that and the information above.
I plan to post with technology/business thoughts when I have a chance.