We are unlikely to see bigger eDiscovery market news in 2016. Epiq Systems has reached agreement to be acquired by OMERS Private Equity and Harvest Partners, LP in a transaction valued at approximately $1 billion. The acquirers are majority shareholders in DTI, and Epiq and DTI will be combined to create an extremely large global legal services and technology provider.
Epiq’s announcement is here. The news was initially misreported – some reports said that DTI had acquired Epiq. The story was also reported in some quarters as being a pure eDiscovery story when in fact both Epiq and DTI have wider interests. Epiq began with the management of bankruptcy and that remains a significant component of its business, along with class-action and mass tort administration, Federal regulatory actions, and data breach responses. DTI is a Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) company which manages eDiscovery along with other aspects of complex litigation and compliance.
This is interesting for many reasons. The scale of the proposed new business and the range of its activities are significant, but its combined global footprint is what catches my eye. In addition to the US, Epiq has long been in London, Hong Kong and Tokyo, and has recently extended its operations in mainland China. DTI is in Dublin, Hyderabad, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and has seven offices in Australia and New Zealand, all in addition to a large US presence.
It is relevant in this context to look at a report by MarketWatch published last week called eDiscovery market: North America to remain the most lucrative region. In addition to its statistics of prospective growth in services and software, the report talks of “rising demand for cloud computing and increasing volumes of digitally stored data [which are] driving the adoption of off-premise eDiscovery software”. Much of the demand comes from companies which are increasingly interested in eDiscovery tools and skills for purposes going beyond litigation and regulatory matters.
The other interesting point from the MarketWatch report is to do with projected growth in different regions. The US, it says, will continue to account for the highest demand; growth in Europe is predicted to “remain steady”; growth in the Asia-Pacific region, though, “will increase at a robust pace” – the report predicts a 17.4% increase in the Asia-Pacific eDiscovery market in 2016.
Major corporations with global businesses need major players to support them. The combined businesses of DTI and Epiq will be attractive to many of them.