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New Dicom VP of marketing Andrew Pery looks like quite a prophet after he made this statement a couple weeks ago at a Kofax Transform event in Prague. “As players like Microsoft and Oracle are introducing ‘just-good-enough’ content services, pure-play ECM vendors are being forced to consolidate. In the next six months, I expect to see consolidation involving the rest of the mid-tier vendors like Hyland, Interwoven, Vignette, Stellent, etc.”

Well, Stellent was the first to go.Who’s next? One thing we can say is that, based on the recent FileNet and Stellent deals, the going price for a profitable ECM company seems to be 2.5 times revenue – when you subtract out cash in the bank. FileNet was on track for some $450 million in revenue, had an equal amount in the bank, and was acquired for $1.6 billion. $1.2 billion divided by $450 is 2.5. Stellent, which was probably on track for $140-150 million in annual revenue, had $70 million in the bank, and got $440 million. $370 million divided by $150 rounds to 2.5. Of course, a few years back, EMC acquired Documentum for some 4 times revenue – but that was an all-stock transaction. The more recent Captiva acquisition worked out to somewhere just north of 2.5 times annual revenue.

We did think it was a bit curious that of all the ECM players out there, Oracle opted for Stellent. Now, we’ve always thought Stellent had good technology, and they have some interesting stuff with their whole Outside In universal viewer, but we thought Oralce would have purchased someone with a larger footprint. Open Text seemed like the most logical choice, especially after Oracle and Open Text announced a strengthened partnership around Oracle’s Content and Records Database products released this summer. For whatever reason, that deal didn’t take place. Of course, Oralce is rumored to have also turned down FileNet three times, before IBM took them off the market. It’s also probably not coincidental that the Stellent deal ocurred only shortly after Open Text closed its acquisition of Hummingbird. That deal may have been the straw the broke the camel’s back when it came to Oralce’s intent to acquire Open Text. And then there was long-time Oracle partner Documentum, but that ship sailed a few years back, of course. But Stellent? Interwoven, admittedly, would have surprised us less… but now here’s the document imaging pitch… One thing Stellent had going for it over Interwoven is a strong document imaging/BPM product line that it picked up from Optika. Maybe, this had nothing to do with it, but I’d stand the Optika imaging technology up against anything Open Text has, probably the old Gauss/Magellen stuff is the closest match, and Oracle sure got it a lot cheaper than if they’d paid $1 billion for Open Text. The Optika imaging stuff, in fact, is the only real current connection we see between these two companies, as Optika has specialized in recent years in J.D. Edwards integration.

Anyways, congrats on the folks at Stellent, on a solid step, hopefully, in the evolution of their business, and we look forward to seeing who is going to hop on the consolidation train next.


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