On December 6, Seagate announced its acquisition of MetaLINCS. Financial terms were not disclosed, but my sources tell me that the price is $80 million. Given that MetaLINCS is a 50 person company with fewer than 25 customers , this is a fantastic outcome and I congratulate the MetaLINCS team. My educated guess is that in 2007 MetaLINCS will earn $5 million to $10 million in bookings, making this a healthy multiple of 8-16X. Contrast that to the 5X revenue paid by
That still leaves the question of why Seagate, a non-entity in e-discovery, would want to pay such a rich price. The answer, according to Seagate, is its desire to grow beyond manufacturing hard drives by having its services group provide a broad range of “solutions”, including archiving, back-up, recovery, and e-discovery. EVault, acquired last year for $185 million, is the backup and recovery part of that equation; MetaLINCS is the e-discovery component; and, say the analysts, don’t be surprised if an archiving acquisition is next.
Does Seagate’s entry into the e-discovery market make any sense? I don’t think so, and here’s why: there is a mismatch between Seagate/MetaLINCS and its target market. Seagate’s services offering will appeal most to mid-market companies which often outsource archiving, backup, and recovery. Seagate admitted as much when it announced the EVault deal. But the mid-market will be the last place to adopt e-discovery software like MetaLINCS; it is the Global 2000 who will move first, as they are the most sophisticated and in the greatest pain. For the limited amount of mid-market e-discovery business that is out there, Seagate/MetaLINCS will compete with every other service provider, from Kroll to Stratify to the hundreds of mom-and-pop shops across the country.
Net net: this acquisition is great for MetaLINCS, is small enough to be immaterial for Seagate, and will likely have no impact on the e-discovery market which will be won and lost in Global 2000 companies that are not interested in a Seagate/MetaLINCS service offering.
First ZANTAZ, then Stratify, and now MetaLINCS. It makes you wonder who will be next.