Adobe Buys Business Catalyst / GoodBarry

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We suspect Business Catalyst, the company behind e-commerce software suite GoodBarry, went a little early with the news on its own website, but that’s a boon for tech business reporters awake at this time of day. Turns out Adobe Systems has agreed to acquire the part American, part Australian company for an undisclosed amount.

Details are scarce since there’s no press release or official word from Adobe yet, but Business Catalyst has published a couple of Q&A on its website that shed a minimal amount of light on the agreement. From what we can gather at this point despite the vague wording used for the announcement, there won’t be too many changes at Business Catalyst as the products, partner agreements, team, pricing, etc. should remain largely unchanged. GoodBarry, on the other hand, being merely a Business Catalyst brand set up for their retail operations, will be gradually phased out and morphed into the Business Catalyst offering:

Most importantly, we’ll be refocusing our marketing and sales efforts on the web professional market (via businesscatalyst.com), as opposed to web-savvy DIYers such as you. In other words, this means that eventually we will cease “retail” operations and focus on our wholesale operations, and we will only be selling subscriptions to our software via our partner and reseller network.

As a result, the GoodBarry brand as such will cease to exist as of the 1st of October 2009, although the company says changes for customer will be mostly cosmetical (the billing and branding will be all Business Catalyst as of the aforementioned date).

The most important question however is why Adobe bought Business Catalyst in the first place and what its intentions are with the company in the near future. We’ve contacted the company for more clarity on that but in the meantime here’s what we know.

Business Catalyst / GoodBarry provides tools that help web designers set up online businesses for their clients with minimal cost and effort and no programming skills required, combining website content management, e-commerce features, e-mail marketing, business analytics and basic CRM tools into one system.

Adobe evidently offers a wide range of tools for web professionals, but in the near future does not plan to integrate Business Catalyst’s products into its own offering, although they are clearly looking to hosted services to deliver websites and online businesses more and more. There will be an initial transit period, but with regards to what will happen after that both companies remain mum and mention only that they are currently in ‘planning stages’ and will provide more information in the following weeks.

We’ll update if and when we hear more.

On a sidenote, this isn’t the first time Business Catalyst CEO and Founder Bardia Housman sold a company. In 1997, he co-founded Start (start.com.au), Australia’s first free e-mail service provider, which in two years became the largest trafficked website in Australia as measured by Hitwise. In December 1999, Looksmart was acquired Start.

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