The acquisition aligns with Ricoh’s strategy to grow its digital workplace transformation offerings.
Six months ago new leadership took the helm at DocuWare. Today, we received news that Ricoh has announced a definitive agreement to acquire DocuWare.
Coincidence or not?
Plans to sell the German-based provider of cloud and on-premises document management and workflow automation software must have been discussed long before today’s announcement, perhaps stretching back to last October’s announcement that Dr. Michael Berger and Max Ertl would be succeeding Jà¼rgen Biffar and Thomas Schneck as presidents of the company on January 1, 2019.
This acquisition represents a big win for Ricoh, a company that has not been shy about acquiring software companies (The most recent was MakeLeaps a provider of cloud-based billing management software.) in the past. DocuWare sells its software to over 12,000 customers in more than 90 countries through a network of 600 partners.
In a DocuWare press release, David Mills, corporate senior vice president, Ricoh Company Ltd, said: “We are intent on building a thriving business which meets the growing need of companies around the world to digitize their businesses and workplaces, wherever they may be. We see a strong demand from our customers to maximize the value of their documents and business content to support their growth. The agreement we have made with DocuWare, which has a market-leading, cloud-first content services offering, is a hugely significant step in meeting that need. We are delighted at the additional capabilities we will be able to offer current and new customers.”
According to the press release, Ricoh has a long-term existing partnership with DocuWare and employs its software both internally in its own operations and with existing customers.
DocuWare will operate as a standalone subsidiary of Ricoh with Mills noting that Ricoh is committed to maintaining and growing its hugely successful partner program, through expanding its channel network and investing in further product development.
“DocuWare already seamlessly integrates with our new IM C series of multifunction printers, through Ricoh Smart Integration, providing customers with a simple, secure way of scanning documents and feeding them directly into a highly effective, intelligent workflow process,” Mills. “As a long-time partner, Ricoh understands the power of DocuWare’s channel to deliver document management and workflow automation solutions to customers. Ricoh wants to strengthen and grow this route to market and is committed to helping and learning from DocuWare and its management team.”
Dr. Michael Berger and Max Ertl, presidents of DocuWare, offered their spin on the acquisition in the press release: “DocuWare has a bold growth plan, and that includes enabling current and future partners with leading document management and workflow automation technology. Having Ricoh as a strong investor and owner gives us the certainty that we can achieve our goals and continue to be a reliable, trustworthy and innovative provider for the entire DocuWare partner and customer community.”
Ricoh has been investing in digital workplace services by growing both organically and through acquisition. The acquisition of DocuWare is in line with Ricoh’s strategy to grow its digital workplace transformation offerings.
The deal with DocuWare is expected to close over Summer 2019, subject to receiving clearance from the relevant competition authorities in Germany and Austria and completion of other customary closing conditions. Following the completion of the deal, DocuWare will operate as a subsidiary of Ricoh with Dr. Michael Berger and Max Ertl remaining as presidents.
With this news and similar software-related acquisitions by the other OEMs over the past few years, it won’t be a surprise to see many more acquisitions just like this. All one needs to do is look at some of the leading software providers in the imaging space who are still operating as standalone entities and then stick a target on their backs and wait and see which OEM hits the bullseye. We expect Canon, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, and Ricoh to lead the way. But let’s not count HP, Sharp, Toshiba or Xerox out of future acquisitions of software companies. That domino effect is a distinct possibility.
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