Private equity firms invest in the legal cottage industry. This is a good thing for general counsel, because those firm inject capital and management experience, but it’s bad if potential acquires take their eye off the ball, if investments lead to turmoil, or if private equity acquirers fail to maintain experienced employees and quality service. On balance, it seems to me, new ownership and capital leads to improvement.
I have collected a few examples of investments by private-equity firms in law department services. Beacon Equity Partners owns Exari after an investment in 2008. The same website mentions its investment in Anaqua, a patent management company, and a press release from 2010 describes Anaqua merging with SGA2.
Another example is the recent purchase of Mitratech (See my post of Nov. 1, 2011: Vista Equity Partners acquires matter management firm.). A bit later Cinven bought into CPA Global, a company in the IP and offshoring space (See my post of Feb. 9, 2012: Cinven acquired CPA Global.). Project Leadership Associates (PLA) was also acquired by an investment group (See my post of Feb. 9, 2012 #2: two private equity investments mentioned.).
Another private equity firm, Riverside Companies, has been active in the global risk and compliance space, with acquisitions of Employment Law Training (ELT) in December 2010, Global Compliance in December 2011, and EthicsPoint in early 2012.
Other examples might come to mind, and I would appreciate learning of them.