Posted in Business, Technology

Acquisitions, I love them – Pluralsight/ACG/Linux Academy

I’m not sure why but I have always been fascinated about mergers and acquisitions. I guess the fact that someone or a group of people can sit down with an idea, turn that into a “living organism” and increase its value to the point that it is valuable enough for someone else to acquire.

I had living organism above in parenthesis because I think an organization is a type of living organism or at least it should be. A quick Google search defines an Organism as a living thing (organizations have a birth date which is the certificate of incorporation and a death date which is the day they file for bankruptcy) that has an organized structure (organizations have a structure; departments, units, processes…etc), can react to stimuli (stimulus is something that rouses or incites to activity. Organisations react to external and internal stimulus), reproduce (this is where you have the concept of parent and child companies or subsidiaries), grow (organizations grow in revenue, assets and employee base), adapt (to survive, organizations need to adapt to changes in laws, market trends and their environment), and maintain homeostasis (so, this is a big word that refers to the property of cells, tissues, and organisms that allows the maintenance and regulation of the stability and constancy needed to function properly. I would say the leadership and management of most organizations perform this function by ensuring stability and constancy of the organization and its processes).

Earlier on, I also said “valuable enough for someone else to acquire”. Now, I’m aware that there are a ton of other reasons acquisitions happen including, diversification, growth/spread and to silence the competition. In this post, I’m focusing on the value the acquired company has developed.

In the news today, I read that A Cloud Guru (ACG) has come to an agreement to be acquired by Pluralsight. Both companies are known for their online learning platforms especially for IT trainings and courses. I’ve known Pluralsight longer than ACG. In fact, I only knew about ACG from a recent acquisition. I’ll talk about this next.

For me, one interesting thing about this acquisition is the fact that ACG acquired Linux Academy a little over a year ago (December 2019). I’ve known Linux Academy longer than ACG. They have been around since 2012 and provided over 200 self-paced courses and 1,000 Hands-On Labs.

Pluralsight on the other hand has been around since 2004. So the trend is the older company acquires the younger company, ACG founded in 2015. ACG, an older company acquires a younger company, Linux Academy founded in 2012 πŸ™‚.

In fact,while writing this post, I did a little research and found out that Pluralsight has been on an acquisition spree. Exciting, the plot thickens. 😁

According to Tracxn Technologies, Pluralsight has made 7 acquisitions and 2 investments. The company has spent over $ 326M for the acquisitions which include TrainSignal, PeepCode, Digital-Tutors, Smarterer, GitPrime, Train Simple and HackHands.

Besides the companies they have been acquiring in the past few years, Pluralsight themselves were acquired this year (2021) by Vista Equity Partners (β€œVista”) for $22.50 per share.

A truly interesting story. I hope you’re excited as I have been reading about these acquisitions.

See you in the next one…

Posted in Business

Parenting & Business Units

The title of this post already gives an idea of my thought process. Over the years, I’ve been involved in setting up and running a few start ups/business units and I currently work for a organisation that has spun up a number of business units that will push out new products into the market

There is a lot of fear and uncertainty in launching a new idea into the deep which common with this terrain. One of such fears comes with how to allocate resources from the parent organisation to its subsidiaries.

I usually like to use the analogy of parenting to describe how I feel this challenge should be tackled.

As a parent, I nuture my children from birth to adulthood. While they are with me and under my roof, I fend for them, feed them and handle all their bills. I also help them to find their footing, I guide their dreams and I provide direction and advise. Once they come of age, I will need to step back and let them stand on their own. At that time, most (if not all) the support is removed for two reasons – the first, is that I want them to no longer feel the need to rely on me. The second reason is that I wasn’t them to grow strong enough and possibly rise better than I ever did.

Now let’s juxtapose this idea of parenting unto the parent company and the subsidiary. I believe the same should be the case. Businesses should not start up a subsidiary and expect that small/weak company to somehow support the larger organisation. That would be an unfair expectation.

Rather, the parent organisation should for a limited time support and handle the bills of the child company up and until a time when that child company can support itself and can stand on its own.

Sadly, when this is not done, in most cases it leads to the death of those subsidiaries. I’ve seen a lot of these in the industry in recent years.

Obviously, starting up a subsidiary or spinning up a new business unit is not as simplistic. In fact, it’s one of the most complex aspects of a business and there are many, many things to consider and set in place for success.