I thought we would see more acquisitions and mergers in the web conferencing industry in 2019, but I didn’t think it would start so early!
Thursday’s slate of press releases brought notice that Issuer Direct has bought the VisualWebcaster platform from Onstream Media for $2.788 million in cash.
I must confess that although Issuer Direct is based not far from me here in central North Carolina, I was not familiar with the name. Then in reviewing their history, I realized that it’s a rebranding of the old My EDGAR business, which I knew well. They have acquired a number of other companies with familiar names such as PrecisionIR and Accesswire.
Issuer Direct offers a variety of services targeted primarily at corporate investor relations (IR) necessities. These include press release distribution, IR website design and management, investor proxy analysis, and communications with existing or potential investors.
According to the press release, they have more than 2500 customers – but only 225 of those currently use the company’s webcasting services. The acquisition immediately boosts their webcasting business by 50 percent. That’s a nice short-term increase, but it’s obvious that the real growth potential comes from offering the rest of Issuer Direct’s customer base a compelling reason to add on webcasting services (presumably with the help of an improved, commercially-proven new offering).
IR is a well-established application for webcasting, and other IR-focused companies have included in-house technology offerings for their clients. The interesting question is whether Issuer Direct will attempt to continue to market and support VisualWebcaster as a stand-alone webcast platform for general non-IR uses. My guess is that it won’t be a priority for them, but I have not spoken to anyone in the company yet to verify or dispute this assumption.
We’ll see if this marks the start of an acquisition race in the new year. The number of available, commercially viable web conferencing technologies is dwindling rapidly. Which will go next, and who will buy it? Polish your crystal ball and let me know what you foresee for 2019!