It’s been a big day for acquisitions. This morning, in a blog post, Peter Shankman announced that HARO (Help a Reporter Out) was acquired by Vocus, Inc. Be sure to watch the video, which has Shankman talking at his usual hyperfast pace. He also announced the acquisition on Twitter (@skydiver) and as a status update on Facebook. He’s assuring people that nothing will change with the acquisition except that HARO will be bigger and better. Having heard that before, my advice is to wait and see.
Yesterday, Dassault Systemes, a public company headquartered in Paris, France, announced that it has acquired search engine company Exalead, also a French company, for 135 million Euros. The press release is here. Information professionals are particularly fond of Exalead because of its NEAR command. However, Exalead has always regarded its general web search engine more as an advert for its enterprise version than as a standalone search engine. With Dassault as the new owner, I wonder how much will change with the availability of Exalead as a search engine for those of us not within the walls of one of its customers. I’d like to know what Dassault’s President and CEO Bernard Charles meant by “a new class of search-based applications for collaborative communities.” I’m hoping he’s extending that to the free web.
I love getting my news from Facebook. Darell Gunter posted about the acquisition in his status update. But the actual press release about the acquisition is here. Collexis is a “leading developer of semantic technology and knowledge discovery software for research and development institutions.” Products include Expert Profiler, Reviewer Finder, BiomedExperts.com (for professional networking) and the Collexis Knowledge Engine. Darell is a frequent speaker at Information Today conferences.
One more family business succumbs to the lure of Thomson, further consolidating information resources in the hands of large corporations. Barcelona, Spain-based Prous Science has had a tremendous reputation among pharmaceutical and health researchers. It’s been innovative (had a Web presence beginning in 1995) and fast to create new products and respond to customer needs. Now it will be part of Thomson Scientific, melded into its Pharma/Chem Markets division, joining Thomson Pharma, iDDb, Derwent World Patents Index, and Web of Science. Prous CEO J.R. Prous and EVP Josep Prous Jr. both have positive comments (and since they’re quoted in the Thomson press release, of course it’s positive), particularly about continued product development and innovation, and customers can only hope these sentiments will turn out to be true.
Prous hosts Webcasts and has produced Web sites for associations such as the American Diabetes Association. How will this fit into Thomson Scientific? With Prous headquarters remaining in Barcelona, how much influence will they wield in Philadelphia? Will Prous’ Integrity platform play well with other Thomson platforms?
With Thomson on the prowl for other acquisitions, Prous won’t be the last family (or even small) business to heed Thomson’s siren call. And there will be one more booth disappearing from information industry and library association conference exhibit halls.
It was last Autumn when The Thomson Corporation announced its intention to divest itself of its Thomson Learning Division. The rumored asking price was $5 billion. Yesterday Thomson made it official that the buyer is equity fund Apax Partners and pension fund OMERS Capital Partners. Must have been a bidding war for Learning, proving it more valuable than Thomson thought, since the sale price is $7.75 billion. That’s quite a hefty premium and will no doubt bolster Thomson’s proposed acquisition of Reuters.
Thomson Learning has always struck me as a hodge podge of companies — it includes Wadsworth, Delmar Learning, Gale, Heinle, Brooks/Cole, South-Western, and Nelson Canada. If it were up to me, which it obviously isn’t, I’d probably split it up and sell off pieces. Gale could certainly be split up into the three entities that originally formed it. I’d sort of like to see IAC reconstituted as a pure database company. The Gale Directories could possibly be grouped with other book publishing pieces of the ex-Thomson Learning.
It’s too early to know the intentions of Apax and OMERS. The deal won’t close until the third quarter of 2007.
I wrote about the formation of Information Services Group, Inc. (ISG) back at the beginning of February. I thought they might acquire a traditional online information company, but instead they’ve opted to buy TPI, “the largest independent sourcing advisory firm in the world focusing on the design, implementation and management of sourcing strategies for major corporate clients.” The price is $280 million in cash. The deal should close 4th quarter 2007.