Boston-based private equity shop Berkshire Partners announced this afternoon that it is acquiring Accela — a nearly 20 year old startup that sells regulatory management solutions to government clients.
Accela has gone through a troika of CEOs in the last year. Previously acting CEO Mark Jung replaced Maury Blackman last October who had managed the company for about a decade. We first speculated that an exit could be on the horizon at this time. Five months later, current CEO Ed Daihl took over to presumably drive the company towards an exit.
Prior to today’s acquisition by Berkshire Partners, Accela had raised $235.6 million from ABRY Partners, Karlani Capital, Landmark Growth Capital Partners and others. Accela declined to disclose the terms of today’s deal but Daihl noted that the terms are favorable.
“There are no substantive changes to the number of employees,” Daihl told me in an interview. “We’re growing employees. I have open recs equivilant to 10 percent of the existing workforce.”
A majority of seats on the seven member board will be going to Berkshire Partners with the rest being split between ABRY Partners and Accela executives.
“None of the management is changing,” Daihl added. “None of my management contracts changed.”
Daihl explained that he first came into contact with Berkshire while exploring bidding in a large M&A deal. After deciding the deal wasn’t a fit, Daihl and Berkshire remained in contact until the firm expressed a desire to acquire Accela.
Berkshire traditionally only participates in deals valued at over $500 million — so assuming this isn’t an exception — it should serve as a fairly safe benchmark.
Daihl believes that there is still a lot of value to be created by Accela. He has been pouring resources into domestic and international growth while working to develop a portfolio of APIs. 800 of 2200 Accela customers are operating in the cloud. Part of the company’s five year growth plan is to push more of those customers into the cloud for SaaS-based contracts.
This story is developing and we will continue to update you as we learn more.
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