Exact sale of Macola and merger with ECi won’t change Macola channel focus

The new combined company becomes one of the larger SMB-focused makers of software for manufacturers and wholesales distributors.

Alison Forsythe, Macola’s managing director.

Dutch software company Exact Group B.V. has announced an agreement has been reached to sell their Specialized Solutions division, which includes Macola, JobBOSS and MAX. The division will be acquired by private equity firm Apax Partners and merged with ECi Software Solutions of Fort Worth, TX, under the leadership of ECi management. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed. The deal is expected to close within two months.

For Macola’s channel partners, the sale raises natural concerns because of the ERP vendor’s past gyrations in its go-to-market strategy. U.S-based Macola was a separate company until 2001, and until that point sold 100 per cent through the channel. After they were acquired by Exact, they reversed policy, and moved to a direct model. However, when Alison Forsythe became the managing director of Exact’s Macola division in 2013, she reversed that earlier change, so that the company would have a partner-led go-to-market strategy. The goal in 2014 when the partner-led model was announced was to get to an 80-20 channel to direct ratio in five years. They finished their 2016 fiscal year with a majority of the licensing revenue – 57 per cent – coming through channel partners, so were on a trajectory to achieve that.

That trajectory will not change with the acquisition, said Forsythe, who will remain as Macola’s managing director.

“Today’s news will not change Macola’s current channel-led go to market strategy,” Forsythe said. “ECi supports our strategic direction, recognizes the importance of Macola’s business partner network and understands its vital role in the delivery of our solutions and services to customers.”

Forsythe said that the channel expansion strategy she laid out will continue.

“ECi will continue to enable Macola to expand its product roll-out and scale up its solutions portfolio,” she noted. “Current business partner relationships will not be impacted as a direct result of today’s news, and ECi supports the continued expansion of Macola’s recruitment and enablement plans to support our channel-led go to market strategy.”

ECi is a provider of industry-specific business software and services for small to medium sized organizations. Adding Macola, JobBOSS and MAX, all of which are primarily North America-focused and each target a specific sector of the manufacturing and distribution market, makes the new company one of the largest software providers for manufacturers and wholesales distributors, with over 7,000 customers worldwide.

“By joining forces with a sophisticated and well-regarded brand like ECi, Macola will be a part of a diversified SMB-focused business offering end-to-end technology that will allow Macola to continue to deliver industry leading technology and service in support of the manufacturing and distribution markets,” Forsythe said. “There are tremendous synergies across ECi’s current portfolio of manufacturing solutions, and the combined power of Macola and ECi will bring tremendous value to our customers and partners.”