Quark Software, Inc., the 30 year-old desktop and multi-channel web publishing stalwart, and competitor of Adobe Systems, has been acquired by a California-based private equity firm. Details of the deal have been kept close to the vest, and management outlook is optimistic.

Quark, with headquarters in Denver, was founded in 1981 and has 500 employees. The Denver Business Journal reports speaking with CEO Ray Schiavone, who explained that Quark management had sought out the deal and expected it to lead to expansion, possibly via further mergers or acquisitions.

Multi-Channel XML Publishing

In recent history, Quark has been busy developing its multi-channel XML publishing server, QuarkXPress Server. Version 9 of the product was released in February, adding a strong focus on publishing to mobile and tablet devices.

QuarkXPress Server 9 offers the ability to automate publishing to multiple channels: Flash, web and print. Furthermore, said channels can be published in multiple formats: SWF (Flash), XML, PDF, PDF/X-1a, PDF/X-3, PostScript, Personalized Print Markup Language (PPML), EPS, JPEG and PNG.

In April of this year, it released a cloud-based version of the QuarkXPress Server.

XML Authoring

The precursor to publishing is not lost on Quark. Its XML Author product is built for integration with its own suite and licensed to content management vendors such as IBM and EMC.

XML Author for Microsoft Word is an add-in for Microsoft Word that allows content creators and managers to author XML content in a familiar environment, while publishing out to Quark servers or other enterprise content management systems.

Cozy With Microsoft

Quark and Microsoft announced a joint partnership around XML publishing for SharePoint in late 2009. The proffered solution was built using SharePoint, Microsoft's Unified Communications platform (UC), Quark's Dynamic Publishing Solution (Quark DPS) and XML Author.

Learning Opportunities

Quark + Microsoft

Private equity firm Platinum Equity acquired Quark in a deal of unspecified value. In official statements released today, Brian Wall, a partner at Platinum, sought to reassure clients and employees that Quark's mission, headquarters and momentum all remain unchanged.

Platinum Equity reports having made 115 acquisitions -- including U.S. Robotics and The San Diego Union-Tribune -- and having more than US$ 30 billion "in combined annual revenue across all acquisitions at time of acquisition."

The investment firm's holdings are diverse, spanning businesses in the telcom, IT, automotive, marine transportation, logistics and other industries. Software does not appear to be a specialty, however, Quark is not its only software acquisition.

Quark management report seeing the acquisition as one that will lead to bolstered product R&D and additional geographical reach.