Return of Webtrends

How often is a company able to return to independence after being acquired? I suppose the answer all depends on how you define independence. A nice BizJournal article on the return of WebTrends to a form of independence.

You remember WebTrends don’t you? They had a bubble IPO and then got acquired by NetIQ Corp. (NetIQ being one of those companies that will explain what it does, but then you still have no idea what they do: “Knowlege-Based Service Assurance“) The BizJournal story also mentions that former founder Greg Drew will be the CEO of WebTrends (which makes me happy, I always liked and having a local-boy CEO is legit).

How does a company remove itself from it’s corporate owner? Just find someone that can cover the $94 million, like Francisco Partners. According to their website they “provide transformational capital by working in close concert with the management team to reposition, recapitalize, or otherwise rejuvenate companies to support strong long-term value creation.” And says, “Web analytics is a competitive sector, but WebTrends was stuck within a larger company focused on computer-system and security management.”

WebTrends will have to keep an eye on Urchin, which was just acquired by Google. There is definitely something of a buying spree going on (MSN purchased AdCenter), with some referring to the buying trend as “Bubble 2.0”. I like seeing the buying frenzy work out so that some businesses are freed from corporate parents, instead of all the cool little companies (Flickr, Bloglines, Technorati, Feedster) getting gobbled up.

Sidenote: While trolling for dirt on Francisco Partners (none found), the closest thing I found was that managing partner David Stanton was a general partner with Texas Pacific Group and both Texas Pacific and FP have invested in Smart Modular Technologies, but I suppose the “private equity investment world” is relatively small and this doesn’t mean much.

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