“I was working really hard. I was banging my head against the wall…”
Private equity firm Thoma Brava has agreed to buy 36-year-old IT and software services company ConnectWise in a deal expected to close on February 28.
“Thoma Bravo was the clear and obvious choice over an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and seven other private equity firms,” CEO and founder Arnie Bellini said. (The company had previously spent $9 million and two years evaluating an IPO).
And with the company having made its employees shareholders, the deal will create 70 millionaires, Bellini, who founded the company in 1982, told ChannelE2E, a deals-focussed publication, in an interview posted today.
As he puts it: “The story starts somewhere between 1996 and 2000 or so. I was working really hard. I was banging my head against the wall. I felt like I was working harder than my employees. That’s when my wife gave me an important piece of advice. She told me to make the employees owners in the business. So, we did exactly that.”
He added: “Who won? The simple answer is everyone won. Our colleagues — our employees and alumni — will redeem over $270 million in stock. More than 70 millionaires are being created. We are changing the lives for hundreds of ConnectWise families because we so broadly distributed equity in the business.”
Tampa-based ConnectWise’s business management platform automates the full lifecycle of technology service delivery, from sales and service to project tracking and back-office functions, for 25,000-plus partners in 65 countries.
Its tools include ConnectWise MSP Connector, which manages, and reports on key metrics from various managed services tools, as well as provides open APIs to share data between those tools.
The deal will result in 110 job cuts and 70 new positions, Bellini noted.
“We want to assure everyone that we’ll go the extra mile to help those who are affected. For those affected, they’ll keep their stock. We’ll put in money, time and effort to help those affected with job matches. We’ve hired consultants to assist with resume building, career pursuits and more. And we’ll offer great severance. We want to go the extra mile to make sure everyone who is affected gets jobs quickly.”
The acquisition comes as Thoma Brava continues to aggressively pursue deals, particularly in the cybersecurity space.
It has completed more than 30 total acquisitions of enterprise security companies to date, agreeing in November to buy application security testing firm Veracode from Broadcom for $950 million in cash.
Further investments include SailPoint, Barracuda Networks, LogRhythm, Bomgar, BlueCoat Systems, SonicWall and Entrust.
A minority shareholder in McAfee, Thoma Brava has also been widely rumoured with an attempted buyout of the cybersecurity company from owner Intel.