Friday, April 25, 2008

Wolters Kluwer, Thomson Acquire Accounting Firms

Earlier this month, two of the big players in information publishing purchased accounting firms. Nonsensical? Not really, when you consider that both companies are in the business of offering a suite of products and services to their customers that encompass not only what we may traditionally think of as publishing products but also services and solutions that leverage or embed the information and expand the relationship with the customer. (I touched on this at a recent industry conference).

In the case of Wolters Kluwer, they have taken over the UK offices of Melbourne, Australia based accounting software firm MYOB (Mind Your Own Business). WK reportedly paid £35.5m earlier this month for MYOB. From AccountingWeb:

The MYOB Accountants Division product range includes PerTax and Viztopia accounts production and practice management programs acquired from MYOB's fellow Australian software Solution 6 in 2004. MYOB also produces the Singleview
knowledge management portal, plus corporation tax, trust and insolvency practice programs.

CCH's ProSystem portfolio includes many similar applications. In an email to customers CCH UK managing director Martin Casimir said the long term plan was to migrate all the solutions to a single range of best of breed products. "Please rest assured that this will be done in a considered and carefully controlled manner," he wrote.

CCH is WK existing software division.

Competitor Thomson has purchased tax software company Digita within the same time frame but after considerably wooing of the Digita founders. Thomson's UK and European market share is far smaller than their US position and they see Digita as enabling a rapid development of that market. As core markets mature, similar companies will be looking to the international market for growth performance. Additionally, in the case of both companies, the acquisitions will enable the companies to further expand the range of business solutions and services that they offer to their key markets.

Thomson will place Digita with Sweet & Maxwell.

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