Friday, April 24, 2009

SumTotal agrees to buyout by PE firm Accel-KKR

With a quick 17% premium to Vista Equity Partners $3.25 per share bid, Accel-KKR seems to have swooped in and won the day, the 30-day shopping clause notwithstanding. The entire HCM/Talent Management space must be breathing giant sigh of relief as this perpetually under-performing company looks to finally be removed from public scrutiny. For SumTotal shareholders, I imagine champagne corks are popping, since their prospects if the company stayed public looked very ugly.

For SumTotal customers though, it is entirely too early to tell what the effects of the deal will be, good or bad. Change will be afoot though. Having done some research, I can tell you that there is a world of difference between rookie PE firm Bedford Funding (who bought out Authoria last year) and Accel-KKR. Accel-KKR is joint venture of two major PE firms that have deep experience and cash resources to drive a strategic vision with this purchase. Who knows what that vision is at this point? But, I have a suspicion that we'll see more of Accel-KKR in HCM/Talent before the year is up.

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