Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Software firm deal worth millions

City staff to benefit from EISI sale to U.S. developer

  • Print

A local software success story that doubled in size a few years ago by acquiring a California-based competitor has now been purchased by another U.S. firm, making millionaires out of some of its employees.

Emerging Information Systems Inc. (EISI), a 21-year-old firm with more than 200 employees in Winnipeg, has been purchased by Milwaukee-based software developer Zywave Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

EISI founder and CEO Mark Evans said the deal, expected to close within 30 days, will not only create new growth opportunities for EISI, but will make some of its employees rich.

Evans said nearly 200 current and former employees own shares in the company, including a handful who have been with the firm since its inception.

"A good set of people are going to realize a nice gain on this deal. There are going to be several millionaires and a bunch of people that will get $100,000 or more," he said, although he wouldn't say how many.

EISI is the second homegrown specialty software developer to be purchased by a U.S. company this year. In March, Tell Us About Us, a 14-year-old customer-feedback firm, was acquired by Denver-based Market Force Information, a leader in customer intelligence solutions and the world's largest mystery shopping company.

Kathy Knight, CEO of the Information and Communication Technologies Association of Manitoba, said she's not surprised to see U.S. firms snapping up local software developers.

"It shows and demonstrates that we have some real strength in this area," Knight said. "And it (EISI) is such a successful company, so it would be highly desirable."

She noted Market Force not only left TUAU's operations in Winnipeg, but said it plans to grow its software-development operations here. Hopefully the same will happen with EISI, she said.

Evans dismissed any concerns EISI's Winnipeg operations will be moved to the United States, or that a lot of local jobs will be lost.

He said it was EISI that initiated the search for a new equity partner after its majority owner -- Toronto-based Birch Hill Equity Partners -- said it wanted to sell its stake in the firm.

He said there were a number of interested buyers, and EISI's executive team wouldn't have struck a deal with anyone who intended to move the operation out of Winnipeg.

He said Zywave is about the same size as EISI and is committed to growing EISI's business.

"Based on that, I think you can infer there won't be a lot of disruption to operations."

Evans conceded these kinds of mergers often result in people leaving, either by choice or because their jobs are being eliminated. But if that happens in this case, he expects it to involve fewer than 10 people.

Zywave officials declined an interview request on Monday, saying they won't comment until after the deal is closed.

In a press release announcing the acquisition, Zywave founder and CEO Bill Haack said, "We admire EISI's expertise and demonstrated ability to deliver and support tailored solutions that have made them the technology partner of choice in the financial advisory industry. We look forward to combining our capabilities to support our clients' ever-evolving business needs."

Although both companies are software developers, most of EISI's products are designed for the financial-planning industry in North America, while Zywave's are designed for the insurance brokerage business.

But Evans said Zywave also has some generic products EISI customers can use and vice-versa. They also have products that compliment one another, so there will be opportunities to work together to grow their sales.

Evans said it will be a couple more weeks before details of the merger are completed, including whether EISI will keep its name. EISI is North America's largest provider of needs-assessment and financial-planning software, with more than 250,000 customers. It's blue chip customers include 11 of the continent's top 25 banks, 17 of its top 25 brokers, three of the top five Canadian insurance companies and seven of the 10 largest U.S. life insurance companies.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 25, 2011 B3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Rinelle Harper and family thank man who found her

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS June 23, 2011 Local - A Monarch butterfly is perched on a flower  in the newly opened Butterfly Garden in Assiniboine Park Thursday morning.
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Would you visit Dalnavert Museum if it reopened?

View Results

Ads by Google