What’s the best home for an e-discovery company? Yet another acquisition last week raises this question. 

“To expand its document management services business, Xerox… announced that it has agreed to acquire privately-held Amici LLC for $174 million. Amici is a leading provider of electronic-discovery (e-discovery) services, primarily supporting litigation and regulatory compliance.” The Xerox press release goes on to report that “Amici was founded in 2002 and currently employs about 125 people.”

As pure-play EED vendors are scooped up, we need to think about how EED fits with the new parent’s existing business. Recent acquisitions include:
The Phillipine phone company acquired SPI Tech
Pitney Bowes acquired Ibis, and Compulit before that
Integron acquired Bowne’s EED services
Xiotech acquired Daticon
Epiq acquired nMatrix
FTI Consulting acquired Ringtail
Marsh & McLennan acquired Kroll
LexisNexis acquired Applied Discovery

It’s not obvious what the best long term fit for e-discovery players is. Is it a “pure play” legal company like LexisNexis? A large company like Pitney Bowes or Xerox with selected legal market services? Is it a more specialized legal provider like Epiq or FTI? How about an insurer and financial services company? And where is HP, EMC, IBM, and CA (which just acquired records management software and services company MDY)? It seems that e-discovery would fit well with storage management and information life cycle companies.

At this point, it’s too early to answer. I don’t think BigLaw CIOs and lit support managers need to worry. There are plenty of vendors from which to select. Acquisitions often take a long time to affect operations and service offerings. Longer term though, those buying EED services will likely need to consider ownership and its implications as one of the selection criteria.

7/25/06: LexisNexis announced yesterday (7/24/06) that it is acquiring DataFlight, maker of Concordance software. See the press release
8/1/06: Huron Consulting announces acquisition of Aaxis Technologies and of Nextra
9/27/06: Techbooks announces (9/18) acquisition of Whitmont Legal Technologies.
9/28/06: Thomson acquires LiveNote
10/6/06: Océ Business Services acquires CaseData (press release, PDF)
11/20/06: Kroll Ontrack acquires e-discovery software provider Engenium (press release, PDF)
3/1/07: Merrill Corporation Announces Acquisition of Lextranet
5/31/07: Anacomp acquires CaseLogistix
6/4/07: Syngence acuired by private investors
7/16/07: Autonomy and Zantaz merge July 3, 2007