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Acquisition case study

In September, Ed Macnair, CEO and founder of SaaSID, called to let me know that his company had been acquired. This was a remarkably quick acquisition, coming just over a year after SaaSID had launched its first product at CloudForce in May 2012.

Unusually, although the acquiring company wanted to distribute the acquisition announcement, it wanted SaaSID to write the press release.

While the press release was going through the approval process with the acquiring company, I looked back though the coverage from the previous fourteen months and listed the journalists and analysts who had covered SaaSID.

Speaking to SaaSID’s marketing manager, I advised that, while the acquiring company was planning to distribute the press release over the US newswires, it would be courteous to let these UK journalists and analysts know that the company had been acquired, in advance of the news being distributed. Calling ahead would allow them time to request additional information about the deal and discuss what it would mean for customers, partners and employees. A list of journalists and analysts was submitted and approved by Ed.

The acquiring company let us know on the afternoon of 25th September that they planned to send the release at 8am Eastern Time/1pm UK the following day. I called as many journalists and analysts as I could reach before close of business and promised to send the release first thing in the morning. Overnight, the acquiring company revised the release distribution time to 8am UK. I began sending the release at 6am, on a one to one basis, to the approved list of journalists and analysts, so that they had time to read the release before it hit the news wires.

This agreed pre-pitch strategy paid dividends. The acquisition was covered by ten UK publications, seven of which provided in-depth analysis of the deal and how it would benefit customers. The acquisition was also positively reported by the analysts at 451 Research and generated interest from analysts at Gartner and Ovum, who invited Ed Macnair to speak at the Identity and Access Management Summit in London.

In addition to the press and analyst call round, I made a point of sending the release to Chief Trailblazer, Rose Ross. SaaSID was the winner of the inaugural Cloud Trailblazer Award, for innovative technology startups, so I wanted to let Rose know that the company had been successfully acquired. This approach generated two speaking opportunities for Ed Macnair at the Tech Trailblazers Futures Den at IP EXPO, where Ed presented to other technology entrepreneurs and appeared on a panel debate discussing exit strategies for startups.

Prior to Ed’s talk at IP EXPO, I also contacted the editor of Growth Business to let him know that Ed was presenting to entrepreneurs to describe how he steered his technology business from launch to acquisition within fourteen months. The editor interviewed Ed two days before his presentation and, after a follow up call to clarify a couple of details, he Tweeted a link to his article just two hours before Ed addressed the assembled entrepreneurs at Futures Den.

Commenting on the media activity around the acquisition, Ed Macnair said, 

“We were very happy with the way that Josie handled our acquisition announcement. Her knowledge of the technology journalists and analysts enabled her to contact exactly the right people, within an extremely tight timeframe. Josie was keen to be allowed to speak to the journalists and analysts, as a matter of courtesy, since they had been covering our company since launch. This personal touch generated much more positive coverage of the deal than we could have achieved if we had simply left people to pick up the news on the wire. In addition, she was also able to identify the business story and how this could be relayed to other entrepreneurs to guide them on their exit strategy planning. I would not hesitate to recommend Josie to other technology companies.”