Private Equity Firm Vista Equity Partners Acquires a Technology Company


February 13, 2015

The US-based private equity firm, Vista Equity Partners, announced on Thursday afternoon it is buying Automated Insights. The technology company is funded by the Associated Press and other similar investors, and it creates automated stories of companies’ financial results.

Very Few Details
Both Vista and Automated Insights kept much of the financial details of the deal secret. The only hint towards the price came, as spokesman for Automated Insights, James Kotecki, told ABC News, the deal would be worth more than what investors have so far put in. This figure currently stands at $10.8 million.

The firms released a press release in which they both acknowledged the deal is an exciting opportunity. Automated Insights CEO, Robbia Allen, said in the statement, “Vista immediately understood the value proposition of and opportunities for our solution, and we believe they will be a great partner in helping our team take Ai to the next level. With Vista’s support and experience, we will continue our focus on product development and innovation as well as exploring new frontiers of artificial intelligence.”

Vista’s chairman and chief executive officer, Robert F. Smith, congratulated the team at Automated Insights for their previous work and said the firm can’t wait to help the company pursue bigger avenues for using the technology.

Part of a Bigger Vision
For the private equity firm, the deal is part of a bigger vision to control the technology sector. The company earlier bought STATS LLC, a sports data company, which now will see Automated Insights included in its operations as a subsidiary. Gary Walrath, CEO of STATS, said in a statement, “We are excited about the unique capabilities our partnership will enable in sports data and technology, and the scale with which we will together be to able to provide state-of-the-art new products to our customers.”

Automated Insights said on Thursday that it hopes to increase the areas of use for its technology, especially in the sports and business intelligence sector. It also announced its plans to continue working with its current customers such as Associated Press, Yahoo and Comcast. Vista currently has plenty of assets under management in the technology sector. It has previously focused in dynamic software and data companies in mid-size markets.

Increasing Competition
The technology sector, especially the stats-to-words type of business, is becoming increasingly interesting area for private equity investors. David Gunkel, a teacher of information and communication technology at Northern Illinois University, told Chicago Business, the technology is starting to function better, providing more areas of application and thus luring in more investors.

STATS has been active in acquiring similar data companies ever since Vista took over the company in May last year. For Automated Insights the most significant competition is a Chicago-based company Narrative Science, which might spark interest among private equity firms after this deal. The technology sector is creating start-ups at a staggering rate and private equity firms have plenty of opportunities available. Finding the right business can often be difficult and the competition is just likely to heat up more in the future.

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