Insight Venture Partners buys content management platform Episerver for $1.1 billion

Episerver, the Irvine, Calif.-based company that provides services for marketers to manage content, was bought by Insight Venture Partners from the private equity firm Accel-KKR for a cool $1.1 billion.

The company said it would use the money to fuel its plans for global expansion.

“Episerver is at the center of a global digital transformation market that IDC expects to reach $1.7 trillion through 2019 and is expertly helping businesses of all sizes to digitize, optimize and personalize customer experiences,” said Deven Parekh, managing director at Insight Venture Partners, in a statement.

Back in 2015, Accel-KKR (the formrer joint venture between one of Silicon Valley’s premier venture capital firms, Accel Partners, and private equity giant KKR), had merged Episerver (known as EPiServer) with Ektron (we reported on the Ektron acquisition when it happened) to bulk up the content management business.

At the time of the merger, Episerver had 8,800 customers in roughly 30 countries, serving up digital assets to more than 30,000 websites.

The company’s service allows businesses to have a single repository for all of their marketing messaging to enable for information to be disseminated from a central location to different national and international websites.

The idea is to make the customization and personalization of marketing messaging easier for far-flung corners of a business.

Here’s what we wrote about the market around the time that Ektron was sold to Accel-KKR before its merger with Episerver.

… web content management itself has become increasingly commoditized as vendors share a common set of functionality, making it much more difficult to differentiate products in the market. One way companies including Ektron are trying to do that is to have a greater digital focus. In fact, the entire industry is pivoting to what they are calling customer experience management where they attempt to provide the optimal experience for the customer, however they interact with a company based on what they know about them.

This means that increasingly companies are trying to provide a more customized experience, rather than give everyone the same generic content. We recently reported on how Acquia is trying to provide ways to tell marketers more about visitors and present more customized content based on what they can glean from them, even when they are anonymous. You can still understand things like device, IP address and other information even when customers don’t choose to share information explicitly about themselves.

“We knew that Episerver had world-class products and people when we made the investment. Accel-KKR worked to augment the leadership team, make a number of strategic acquisitions, help build out a stronger channel and significantly grow SaaS revenue,” said Jason Klein and Dean Jacobson, managing directors of Accel-KKR — in a weirdly jointly attributed statement (I’m assuming the two directors dictated the statement in unison to the public relations pro who served as a stenographer for this release… seriously y’all? A joint statement? That’s just stupid).

For the transaction, Episerver worked with advisors Goldman Sachs and Lazard, Houlihan Lokey acted as special advisor to Accel-KKR, and Insight Venture Partners was advised by Evercore.