Yesterday, Vista Equity Partners (Vista), a private equity firm with some $6 billion in investments, acquired Mitratech, one of the leading providers of software for law department matter management, e-billing, as well as governance, risk and compliance. The press release says that the capital and management experience of Vista will bring added stability and operational expertise to Mitratech, which has been providing software solutions to legal departments for 24 years.
As part of the acquisition, Eric Thurston will become the new President, replacing Afshin Behnia, who has served as Mitratech’s President and CEO since 2004.
I have no profound insights regarding this major shift in the field of cost control software for inside-counsel. It will take months, even years, to assess the tradeoffs and consequences from the acquisition. On the one hand a family-owned company with years of laser-like focus on a niche market; on the other hand, access to capital, broader managerial experience, and a different level of business discipline. This change in ownership may presage others in the specialized industry (See my post of Nov. 27, 2010: Thomson Reuters acquired Serengeti; and July 27, 2011: major international players have entered the niche, legal department software market.).