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January 9, 2020
Veeam Software, the cloud data backup and recovery software vendor, is being acquired by venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners in a $5 billion deal that aims to help the company continue its evolution into hybrid cloud services, expand into new markets and become a U.S.-based business.
The acquisition, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020, comes a year after Insight Partners invested $500 million in Veeam a year ago to help the company accelerate its presence in the global software market. Veeam, based in Baar, Switzerland, had more than $1 billion in sales in 2019. The company has about 70,000 partners and serves more than 365,000 customers around the world.
“Veeam has enjoyed rapid global growth over the last decade and we see tremendous opportunity for future growth, particularly in the U.S. market,” William H. Largent, Veeam’s new CEO, said. “With the acquisition, we are excited that our current U.S. workforce of more than 1,200 will be expanded and strengthened to acquire and support more customers.” Largent was previously the company’s executive vice president.
Under the Insight Partners acquisition, Veeam will become a U.S.-based company. As part of the acquisition, Danny Allan has been promoted to chief technology officer from his former role as vice president of product strategy. The company provides a wide range of Veeam backup, recovery and cloud data management services.
A spokesperson for Insight Partners or Veeam could not be reached directly by press time.
Scott Lillis, president and CEO at Lillis Technology Group, a professional services company and Veeam partner and accredited service provider, told Channel Futures that the acquisition will strengthen Veeam’s business and opportunities for its partners.
“Insight is a good company to acquire them,” said Lillis. “They know the space and they bring in access to executives who will be able to help grow the business. A lot of what a venture capital company can do is bring in people who get the board seats and help guide and direct a company. IT right now is going through a big disruption stage, with a lot of things going to the cloud. I think it’s a good move.”
In addition, Veeam becoming a U.S.-based business will help the company break down a lot of sales, marketing and service barriers, which will be a tremendous benefit for the company and its partners, he said.
“It’s validation for the value they are providing to their end users,” said Lillis. “The product is amazing. Of all the suitors I would have like to see do this, I think Insight Partners is a best case scenario.”
Dan Timko, chief strategy officer at J2 Global for OffsiteDataSync, a Veeam partner, also voiced confidence in the acquisition.
J2 Global for OffsiteDataSync’s Dan Timko
“We knew this was going to happen eventually, and their goal of hitting $1 billion in annual revenue seems to have been a good benchmark for timing,” said Timko. “The best part about it is that the buyer is Insight. They’ve been along for a long time now, even prior to their $500 million investment last year. That shows me they are familiar and on board with the company’s strategy and have a strong working relationship with the management team.”
The move is good for Veeam and its partners and will provide broader investments from Insight Partners to help Veeam continue to win and grow in a very competitive market, said Timko. He is glad to see Largent, a company veteran and a strong channel ally, take over as CEO, and he said he hopes that Ratmir Timashev, the company’s executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing and “a great champion for the channel through the years,” is also retained.
“I don’t have any reason to see that change in Veeam without him at the helm, but I am still curious,” said Timko.
Another partner, Ron Hayman, chief cloud officer and chief operating officer at Avant Communications, a Chicago-based master agent, said he sees the deal as a compelling move.
“Key things to observe will include their ability to maintain continuity with service providers and aggregators, though this is something that will become clear over time,” he said. “We’ll also be watching how their commitment to product development continues to evolve.”
Several IT analysts said they also see the acquisition as a positive move but …
… that it will be interesting to see how Veeam is handled by Insight Partners in the future.
Gabriel Consulting’s Dan Olds
“As a partner or customer, you’re always concerned when a vendor you depend upon has a change of management and/or ownership,” said Dan Olds, principal analyst of Gabriel Consulting Group. “You wonder whether the new management will continue to follow through on product enhancement, new product development and support. Those are valid concerns and something that the acquiring company needs to put to rest as soon as possible.”
Partners and customers will have to watch to see if Insight Partners makes cuts in any area of the company or if it plans to discontinue any products in the next year, he said.
“One of the things that causes a little twinge of disquiet with me is that the acquiring company is a venture capital and private equity firm,” which can be very aggressive about getting a high return on their investment, sometimes using the companies they acquire as cash cows. “I’m not suggesting that this is the situation with Veeam and Insight Partners, but just saying that it’s happened before. One of the key things to watch out for is their continuing investment in R&D. If that drops, then it’s a danger sign.”
Another analyst, Kevin Rhone of Enterprise Strategy Group, said he sees the Insight Partners investment in Veeam as a validation of the cloud backup and data recovery market and its growth potential.
“It sends a strong message to the marketplace on these things, plus the concept of ‘intelligent data management’ as a growth opportunity for the future,” he said.
Rhone also is interested in watching to see how Veeam will work to grow its service-provider business after the acquisition and how that will affect partners.
“As with many private equity moves into tech that we have seen, there will be added pressure to grow both organically and via acquisition,” said Rhone. “This potentially means the addition of new services and offerings that will need to be successfully integrated, but which could bring new ways for partners to differentiate and drive growth.”
Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT, said that while concerns about the deal might be a natural reaction for partners and customers when a strategic partner is acquired, such deals like Insight Partners’ purchase of Veeam are predicated on the idea of increasing a company’s value, not degrading it.
“In other words, though Veeam’s new owners and leadership may institute changes, it’s unlikely that those shifts will be so radical that customers and partners will head for the exits,” said King. “In fact, they may find new policies, programs and offerings are superior to what they had before the deal.”
Among the questions that partners and companies should ask, said King, are what changes are planned immediately or during the first six to 12 months after the deal closes, as well as who in the company will be responsible for customer and partner relations.
“Get the company on the record about the role partners will play in its future plans,” said King. “Veeam’s focus on deploying cloud-based backup and recovery solutions is a good strategy – it’s one of cloud computing’s better value propositions – but it’s also an area that public cloud players are pursuing themselves. If Veeam expects to continue expanding and prospering, channel partners are likely to play significant roles in that success. They deserve to know where they stand.”
Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and eWEEK.com, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.
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