Clearwell is now officially part of Symantec is the self-explanatory title of today’s post on the Clearwell eDiscovery blog and of the more formal acquisition report on Symantec’s site as the acquisition and regulatory formalities come to an end. Clearwell’s former CEO, Aaref Hilaly, is now VP and General Manager, Clearwell, after an end-of-term period of mixed sentiment and excitement which I found rather endearing coming from a hard-nosed and extremely commercial company.
The message from the closing blog post is of integration of the eDiscovery and archiving workflow solutions from the two companies. For the moment anyway, Clearwell’s distinctive branding remains on the website, and Aaref Hilaly promises that the information-flow will continue as the integration moves forward. In the interval between my dictating this post this morning and editing it now, the “blog” link on the Clearwell site has been redirected to Symantec’s blog, which shows that changes are rolling out hour by hour.
Aaref Hilaly’s previous post from the end of last month is headed Clearwell lives on, but it’s farewell to “Clearwell Systems Inc”. The post runs through the Clearwell story from the vision of the founding team less than seven years ago through to its sale for $410 million. Aaref Hilaly gives credit to luck along with an obvious pride in the strategic and investment decisions and hard work which brought that reward to the company’s shareholders.
Instead of the conventional one-liner thanking all those who contributed to the company’s success, Aaref actually lists them, from those who organised the first round of funding through to those who handled the Symantec M&A via the development, sales, marketing and other teams. I am extremely touched to be included in a list of those who are credited as “doing so much to help define eDiscovery software as a space and make it intelligible to end-customers”. I started the eDisclosure Information Project in early 2007 and I am not sure that I had heard of Clearwell then. Anyone now making the most cursory review of the market as a potential buyer will come across Clearwell’s name, even without its recent position in the top right-hand corner of Gartner’s eDiscovery Magic Quadrant.
I could be forgiven for having mixed views on these acquisitions – every reduction in the pool of players in the eDiscovery market diminishes the number of potential sponsors for what I do. Fortunately, Symantec is also one of my sponsors, and I very much look forward to being involved with the joint future of these two companies.