Breaking news: NetDocuments acquires Worldox in major DMS consolidation

NetDocuments today (18 October) announced it has acquired global document management system rival Worldox, creating a business with 6,800 combined customers.

Talks have been underway since the start of the year, although according to NetDocuments CEO Josh Baxter, buying Worldox has been a longstanding ambition.

Speaking to journalists ahead of the public announcement, Baxter said: “We’re really intentional in the way we build NetDocuments. Four years ago, as I was working through the blueprint of what we are going to do in the next 24 months I wrote ‘Buy Worldox to accelerate our growth in the small and medium market.’ I failed at the endeavour of doing it in the next 24 months, but I’m really happy to be announcing that we have now acquired Worldox.”

Worldox has been on the document management software scene since 1988. For most of that time, they’ve been solely an on-premises solution. The company began offering multisite capabilities for their network-hosted product in 2012 (Worldox Enterprise), and they introduced Worldox Cloud in 2013, however it is hosted cloud.

Baxter, who took the briefing alongside Worldox CIO and co-CEO Rebecca Sattin, said that customers would now have a clear path to the NetDocuments cloud, commenting that Worldox customers would be able to move at their own pace and that both systems would be maintained. He said: “Some people will want to move to NetDocuments quickly. Some will need to be more patient and there are other things they need to tackle. We will maintain the Worldox platform for the foreseeable future, for when people are ready to move.”

Sattin said: “We’re quite excited to be joining a company that is as well regarded and with such a proven cloud technology as NetDocuments. Building a contemporary cloud solution such as NetDocuments is truly a challenge. The focus on sustained investment and new capabilities being added regularly is what makes NetDocuments special. Cloud is core to NetDocuments DNA and something that we’ve already heard from our customers who have chosen the NetDocuments cloud. We wanted our customers to be able to take advantage of that DNA and have a direct path to what we believe is the best and most proven cloud platform in our space.”

She added: “For our cloud customers who made that choice to move to a cloud product, Worldox doesn’t integrate with a number of cloud time and billing and case management products that NetDocument does and this will give them that range of products to choose from.”

Worldox only operates in the US, Australia and Canada and Sattin said: “We have always had other countries asking and this opens up the market.”

Asked if all Worldox employees will join NetDocuments, Baxter replied: “The vast majority are.”

Given the timeline given by Baxter, talks were underway with Worldox long before its president Ray Zwiefelhofer was reportedly arrested by police in Tempe, Ariz., on allegations of possessing child pornography, according to a US news report, with Sattin and chief financial officer Julie Ann Camporini taking over as co-executives.

Asked what impact the arrest of Zwiefelhofer had on the acquisition process Baxter said: “We’ve been at this a very long time. I’ve been in conversation with the Burkes for many years and we started these conversations at the beginning of the year, so the answer is there was no impact.” Worldox was founded by Thomas and Kristina Burke.

In a statement Sattin said: “Industry trends among law firms and legal teams reflect a prevailing cloud-first strategy and the desire to future-proof their organizations with platforms that can deliver a wide variety of tools, seamlessly connect to other technologies, and scale with their needs. NetDocuments’ proven ability to support these capabilities coupled with their commitment to innovating new, customer-inspired solutions made the combining of our organizations a win-win for customers, partners, employees, and the legal industry as a whole.”

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