Clearlake Re-Acquires Precisely In $3.5 Billion Deal
March 8, 2021 Alex Woodie
Clearlake Capital Group has regained a controlling interest in Precisely, the company it sold four years ago to another private equity firm called Centerbridge Partners. This time around, Precisely is a significantly bigger company, with a valuation of $3.5 billion and 12,000 customers.
You almost need a flowchart to graph the on-again, off-again state of Clearlake’s ownership of Precisely and two companies that came before it, Syncsort and Vision Solutions. But we’ll do the best we can using words.
To recap: In 2015, Clearlake takes a controlling interest in Syncsort, a Pearl River, New York-based provider of data integration solutions for mainframe, Hadoop, Splunk, and other platforms. The following year, it acquires a controlling stake in Vision Solutions, which had already become the dominant provider of IBM i high availability software through its acquisitions of Lakeview Technology and iTera, and had expanded into the Windows and Linux server resilience business with its acquisition of Double-Take Software.
Then in 2017, through a flurry of deals over the course of two days, Clearlake sold its majority stakes in Vision Solutions and Syncsort for a combined $1.2 billion to Centerbridge, which promptly merged them. (Vision Solutions’ acquisition of Enforcive, the IBM i security software company that was previously known as BSafe Solutions before RSA forced it to change its name, gets lost in the shuffle.)
Fast forward past Syncsort’s $600 million acquisition of Pitney Bowes’ location data and software business in 2019, and the name change to Precisely in 2020, and you arrive at Clearlake’s second acquisition of Precisely. This time around, it has a partner (TA Associates), and it is Centerbridge that is retaining a minority stake (Clearlake maintained a share of the combined Vision-Syncsort business following the 2017 deal).
But Precisely is not the same company that it was when Clearlake first acquired it. Back in 2015, Syncsort had revenues of about $75 million per year. Precisely’s revenues last year were about $600 million, and it’s expecting revenues this year to reach $650 million to $700 million, the company tells IT Jungle.
The company has about 12,000 customers today, says Precisely CTO Tendü Yogurtçu. Back when the merger with Syncsort occurred, Vision Solutions had around 4,000 customers running on IBM i. It’s unclear how many IBM i customers it still has, but the odds are that it’s still a substantial number, perhaps even larger.
The IBM i and mainframe products and customers will remain part of the company’s plans moving forward, Yogurtçu says. The opportunity to engage IBM i customers is biggest in the data integration side with the company’s Integrate suite, which encompasses ETL, change data capture (CDC), data migration, and data integration offerings.
“In the Integrate portfolio, we are helping our customers to connect these critical data sets from traditional data warehouses or mainframes or IBM i into cloud data warehouses, like Snowflake and Databricks’ data lake, for example,” she says.
Precisely has a large number of IBM i and mainframe customers in the healthcare and financial services industry, including a good number of Fortune 100 firms. Their core business systems will not be moving to the cloud any time soon, but these companies still want to partake of digital transformation opportunities that may be available to them. That means moving their data securely into the cloud, and enriching it along the way.
“That creates a unique opportunity for Precisely because we are in a position to help those organizations as they go through their modernization, as they go through their digital transformation, as they go through their cloud adoption,” Yogurtçu says. “We will continue to highly differentiate ourselves in those areas with the capabilities that we deliver, whether it’s connecting mainframes or IBM i environments to cloud data warehouses . . . or it’s delivering accurate and complete data through our highly differentiated data quality product and utilizing ML and AI.”
The acquisition will give Precisely the funding necessary to expand its M&A strategy. The company looks set to expand primarily in the data integrity category, which it defines as data integration, data quality, and data enrichment through location-based services. Data resilience, which it provides through security and high availability offerings on IBM i, also would seem to factor into that definition, at least for customers running Power Systems servers.
“There aren’t vendors who are addressing all aspects of data integrity with delivering accuracy, delivering completeness, delivering consistency, and context,” Yogurtçu says. “So this is a unique opportunity for us. As we have products for data integration, data quality, and location and data enrichment, there are also adjacencies that we’ll look forward to create more value for our customers and for the market.”
The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.