After a failed attempt to go public, EPiServer's (news, site) future possible routes included either trying the IPO again or selling to someone. They chose the latter. The buyer is IK Investment Partners, a European private equity firm, with a surprising business focus.

The Deal

IK agreed to buy EPi from Amadeus Capital, Martin Bjäringer, Monterro Holdings, Northzone Ventures, Mikael Runhem, and family and employees. Financials for the deal were not disclosed. At the time of the IPO, EPiServer was valued at 600-700 million SEK.

IDG in Sweden reports that EPiServer CEO Martin Henricson wants to stay with the company. It will be interesting to see how IK reacts to that given the rather uneventful track record and history Henricson has had at EPiServer.

Henricson stresses one of the benefits of the acquisition as being able to benefit from IK’s “proven investment approach and track record of building successful companies.”

Helena Stjernholm, Partner at IK, said:

...Together, we believe that IK and the management team and its highly skilled employees can further drive the organic growth in Sweden as well as internationally, and position the Company to take an active part in the future market consolidation.

Based on these comments, it seems EPi may either get a boost with further expansions and acquisitions led by IK, or get sold off to a bigger WCM vendor on a path of market consolidation.

Would You Like Some Chips with That?

Who is the buyer IK Investment? 

In the world of IT, IK Investment is not a frequent flyer. IK has neighborly to EPi Nordic roots and manages €5.7 billion in funds, according to the company’s website.

None of IK’s current investments include technology companies. Their range is primarily retail/wholesale and manufacturing.

IK’s recent purchases include Snacks International, Colosseum Dental and Agros Nova (juice and drinks, food processing company). Will they know what to do with a Web CMS company? Or, is it business is business and templates and content optimization is not really that different from dentures and chips?

Acquisitions are usually seen as positive signs for those being acquired. Somehow, this one leaves a strange aftertaste with hints of turbulent times and notes of uncertainty for EPiServer. Customers and prospects in the US market may want to speak (and by “speak” I mean “really question”) to EPi about their future plans in this geography before planning on further investments in this Web CMS vendor.