E-Discovery services and technology company Epiq Systems, Inc. has acquired Encore Discovery Solutions for $100 million cash. The press release is here. Most market comment has focused on the acquisition price and on the estimated 50% increase in the revenue of Epiq’s ediscovery business on top of the 92% achieved by its organic growth in 2010. The customers of both companies will be more interested in the range of options and in the increased depth which the acquisition brings.
A glance at Encore’s website shows clearly why Epiq see this as a good fit for them. Encore offers the full range of ediscovery services from data acquisition and analytics through to hosting, production and document review, and it is no accident that project management sits at the centre of the diagram on the Services page of the website. What caught my eye was the range of Strategic Alliance partners which Encore has, with the logos of Relativity, Equivio, Content Analyst, Clearwell, IPRO, EnCase, ICONECT, Wave and Concordance on display.
This was what I focused on when I spoke to Christopher Olofson, President and COO of Epiq Systems, Inc, and to International Managing Director Greg Wildisen, getting from them the sensible line “The customer does not get upset by having more choices”. Greg Wildisen emphasised that Epiq has always been a “services company with software” notwithstanding the fact that it is well known for its proprietary review platform DocuMatrix and its evidence processing engine eDataMatrix. Epiq’s own document review service is product-neutral, set up to generate output for the customer’s choice of destination. Full development of DocuMatrix is to continue.
There is almost no overlap between the customer-base of the two companies, and joining forces allows them to consider each matter and to make appropriate recommendations based on skill, complexity and budget. Encore’s customers will get access to Epiq’s service capacity, its international reach, its data centres and its fast-growing document review services. Epiq’s existing role as primarily a consulting and services business is reinforced by the range of options which the Encore acquisition brings it.
Most predictions for 2011 and onwards have anticipated consolidation in the market. Whilst I cannot say that I saw this one coming, Epiq’s organic growth in the last year made it a likely buyer of something appropriate to add to its capacity and its offering to customers. The complementary skills of the two companies suggest that one plus one is likely to yield very much more than two.