Open Text to acquire BPM vendor MetaStorm

Content management vendor Open Text has announced its intention to acquire business process management software supplier MetaStorm for $183 million.

MetaStorm’s document-centric workflow technology makes it a logical acquisition for Open Text, and both companies target document-heavy industries such as the legal sector.

Interestingly, Open Text CEO John Shackleton said the acquisition would help boost its ability to support mobile content management. “We see workflow being the glue that will allow people using their iPads or smarpthones to be able to access corporate data on the road,” he said.

The deal is “probably the right thing” for MetaStorm, said BPM analyst Neil Ward-Dutton of MWD Advisors.

Some bold investments by the company, like acquiring enterprise architecture tools vendor Proforma in 2007 and building a collaborative process modeling application named M3, have failed to deliver the expected returns, he explained.

“They’ve made a couple of big bets that haven’t delivered anything like what the company had hoped. Instead, they’ve sort of bumbled along.”

Open Text will use the MetaStorm acquisition in one of two ways, Ward-Dutton predicted. It may simply consolidate Metastorm’s document workflow technology into its own toolset, or it may use the opportunity to pursue new market opportunities around BPM, he said.

Shackleton’s remarks announcing the deal rather suggest the former. “Metastorm will add complementary technology and expertise that enhances our [enterprise content management] solutions portfolio,” he said.

Open Text, Canada’s largest software company, also announced financial results for what Shackleton described as “an excellent quarter”. Revenues were $267.5 million, up 8% for the same period of the previous year, while net income shot up 41% to $50.1 million.

MetaStorm is privately held. The US-based company abandoned plans to list on the NASDAQ stock exchange following the collapse of the IPO market in 2009.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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