Consolidation has been a constant theme of the library technology industry for the last two decades. Through a relentless pattern of mergers and acquisitions, the number of companies offering integrated library systems (ILSs) and other strategic technology products has become drastically reduced. This activity has included the acquisition of companies that directly compete with each other and the absorption of technology companies into larger organizations that offer content products or other services to libraries.
Below are some of the major events documented in this newsletter over the years:
- The merger of Sirsi Corporation and Dynix to form Sirsi- Dynix under the ownership of Seaport Capitol (Aug 2005), its sale to Vista Equity Partners (Feb 2007), the acquisition of EOS International (Dec 2013), and its sale to ICV Partners (Feb 2015)
- OCLC's acquisitions of technology companies, including Fretwell-Downing Informatics (Dec 2005), Openly Informatics (Feb 2006), Research Libraries Group (Jul 2006), DiMeMa and its CONTENTdm digital asset management product (Oct 2006), purchase of TechAtlas and its WebJunction service (May 2007), purchase of EZproxy from Useful Utilities (Mar 2008), BOND and its Bibliotheca ILS used in Germany (Jun 2011), acquisition of HKA and its bicatWise ILS (Nov 2013), its acquisition of Relais International (Mar 2017), and its divestment of QuestionPoint to Springshare (Jul 2019)
- The acquisition of Geac by Golden Gate Capitol and merger into Infor (Jan 2006)
- The business transitions of Ex Libris, including its acquisition by Francisco Partners (Sept 2006), the purchase of Endeavor from Elsevier (Jan 2007), its sale to Golden Gate Partners (Jan 2013), the acquisition of oMbeil and its CampusM platform (Jun 2015), and its acquisition of RapidILL from Colorado State University (Aug 2019)
- Innovative's business developments, including its transition to private equity ownership (Apr 2012), its acquisition of Polaris Library Systems (May 2014), and acquisition of VTLS (July 2014),
- ProQuest's acquisition of Medialab Solutions and the AquaBrowser discovery interface (Aug 2007), acquisition of Webfeat (Apr 2008), its acquisition of Coutts from Ingram Content Group (June 2015), its acquisition of Ex Libris (Nov 2015), and the major investment made by Atairos (July 2019) Non-profit mergers, including the merger of SOLINET, PALINET, and NELINET to form Lyrasis (Jul 2009), and the merger of DuraSpace into Lyrasis (Mar 2019),
- The consolidation of companies offering technology products to special libraries into Lucidea, including its acquisition of Inmagic (Dec 2011) and its acquisition of Eloquent Systems (Nov 2017)
- Business events related to Follett, including its purchase of Sagebrush Corporation (Sept 2006) and its acquisition of Baker & Taylor (Jun 2016) and NexTier Education (Jan 2019)
This list of transactions should not be taken as comprehensive. It only includes those that were specifically covered in this newsletter. Also note that the dates given are those of the Smart Libraries Newsletter issue in which the news article was published and not necessarily those of the event.
This issue features yet another business transaction, one which may have more impact on the industry than any of the preceding events. The acquisition of Innovative Interfaces by ProQuest represents one more step of consolidation in the library technology industry and a significant expansion of the company's product portfolio into new areas of interest. This proposed transaction is expected to close early next year. Expect further coverage in Smart Libraries Newsletter as further developments occur.