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SolarWinds CEO Kevin Thompson on Continuum, Thoma Bravo Deal

SolarWinds CEO Kevin Thompson (pictured above) is echoing a familiar theme in the IT service management market. Like many of his rivals, Thompson sees Thoma Bravo's buyout of Continuum as a sign of MSP market strength -- rather than a game-changing competitive threat.

The Thoma Bravo-Continuum deal, announced yesterday, continues a familiar story line: Private equity firms investing in MSP-centric software and automation companies. Of the big five market players (Autotask, ConnectWise, Continuum, Kaseya and SolarWinds), only ConnectWise has avoided private equity dollars to date.

Amid Continuum's sale to Thoma Bravo, Thompson said:

"As SolarWinds has continued to build out the world’s largest platform for IT service management – addressing the wide range of needs for the smallest to the largest service providers – we’ve seen escalated investment in this sector, as evidenced by the recent acquisition of Continuum. The reality is that the IT landscape is becoming more and more complex for SMBs to manage, and the role of the MSP is rapidly increasing in importance. We’re excited to see the continued opportunity and growth potential that technology management solutions bring to both our customers and shareholders."

With those thoughts in mind, Thompson's company continues to invest in SolarWinds MSP -- a business division formed from the N-able and LogicNow acquisitions.

SolarWinds MSP: Security Push Accelerating?

SolarWinds MSP’s John Pagliuca
John Pagliuca

Like Thompson, SolarWinds MSP GM John Pagliuca sees the Thoma Bravo-Continuum deal as a sign of industry strength. He also hinted that the company will double down on security. Pagliuca said:

"Thoma Bravo’s acquisition of Continuum is a timely move that further underscores the important role of the managed services provider. As small businesses, in particular, seek to navigate an increasingly complex IT landscape that includes an escalating number of security threats, the MSP has never been more relevant. This is an indicator that investors recognize the near guaranteed source of growth that the MSP space provides. It’s a good sign for our entire industry."

Continuum and SolarWinds: Same Owners?

Ironically, new Continuum parent Thoma Bravo also owns a stake in SolarWinds MSP. However, that does not mean SolarWinds MSP and Continuum will combine their businesses in any way. Instead, the two companies remain completely separate and competitors, Continuum CEO Michael George told ChannelE2E. SolarWinds executives did not comment on the ownership overlap.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.