Content, Channel partners, Mergers and Acquisitions, Channel investors, Mergers and Acquisitions, MSP, Private equity

Private Equity Firm Acquires ECi Software, Naverisk MSP Tools

ECi CEO Ron Books

Apax Partners, a private equity firm, is acquiring ECi Software Solutions -- which develops SMB business management software as well as MSP software. The MSP software portfolio includes Naverisk -- an RMM (remote monitoring and management) and service desk solution.

Apax is combining the ECi software business with several products from Exact Software -- which is another company in Apax's portfolio. The combination of Exact's Macola, JobBOSS and MAX businesses with ECi will create a "diversified SMB-focused business offering end-to-end technology solutions," Apax indicated. ECi CEO Ron Books will run the combined company.

ECi Ownership and Focus ...

Apax is acquiring ECi from The Carlyle Group and Level Equity. Carlyle will retain a minority ownership position in the combined company. The transactions are expected to close in the third quarter of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions, all companies indicated.

Apax appears most focused on ECi's software for the manufacturing vertical, and hinted that ECi could be positioned to make more acquisitions in that area. The company's manufacturing software "provides a compelling platform for future acquisitions," Apax Partner Jason Wright said in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, ECi CEO Ron Brooks claims the company is one of the largest privately held SaaS businesses in the world. He points to the company's nearly 15,000 customers and reinforced the manufacturing industry focus.

...And MSP Software?

What does all that manufacturing talk mean for the MSP-focused Naverisk business? ECi acquired Naverisk in April 2015.  At the time, ECi said the deal furthered the company's mission of "empowering the entrepreneurial spirit and profitable growth of small to medium sized businesses worldwide by expanding its breadth of service offerings."

Naverisk has potential synergies with another ECi business -- FMAudit -- a managed print services platform that's popular with MSPs.

We've reached out to Apax and ECi for comment about Naverisk's importance to the overall business, and will update this article when we hear more.

Updated Aug. 15, 2017, 2:05 p.m. ET: An ECi spokesperson says the company and new ownership remain committed to the IT services software market.

Private equity firms have been very active in the MSP software market over the past five years or so. Well-known rivals like Autotask, Continuum, Kaseya and SolarWinds MSP each are private equity owned.

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.