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And yet more acquisitions – and then Elite bought FWBS

Thomson Reuters is continuing its spending spree with the announcement of yet another acquisition. This time it is Elite which has acquired FWBS, a provider of software solutions that allow lawyers to manage their practice work streams, contacts and other materials in a matter-centric view. The deal will enable Elite to extend its financial management applications with a robust core matter management capability, as well as strengthen the company’s growing presence in the APAC and EMEA regions.

The announcement says the deep matter management capability found in FWBS’ MatterCentre and MatterSphere tools will be integrated with Elite’s 3E and Enterprise financial and practice management offerings, with the combined solutions offering clients many benefits, including enhanced efficiency and time savings in the back-office; a single point of entry; and the ability to unify firm-wide client and matter data within Microsoft Office and on mobile devices. This integrated matter management capability solves a critical pain point for most firms by centralizing multiple threads of data into a single convenient view within Outlook or browser.

“Law firms today face many challenges, including rising compliance and ethics requirements and the need to stay constantly connected to critical matter management data, even when off-site or in the field,” said Cary Burch, chief operations officer for Elite. “Our strategic acquisition of FWBS eases the burden of these challenges by offering clients a single, reliable platform for financial, practice and matter management that is available on Outlook, and in mobile devices – where lawyers work.”  

Comment: FWBS was founded in 1997 and was a prospective acquisition target with at least two other significant players prior to the recession. It is worth noting that FWBS has been acquired by Elite, as distinct from Flosuite which was acquired earlier this summer by a different arm of the Thomson Reuters empire.

17 replies on “And yet more acquisitions – and then Elite bought FWBS”

Congratulations to Mike Walker & the 2 Marks. who have worked hard in recent years to develop their company. An interesting acquisition for Elite since FWBS was at one time (possibly still is) Aderant's partner and foot in the door to many opportunities like the recent MAB win. Wonder if MAB will cancel the Aderant deal and put Elite in??? 🙂

Don't you find it interesting, Charles, that the proponents of the best of breed approach are gradually turning to a single vendor model with a one-stop shop offering.

Good point – they are all becoming the 'integrated suppliers' they have spent to past 15 years trying to differentiate themselves from – tho of course SAP is the biggest integrated supplier on the planet. Enter Slade (you're too young to remember them) singing “Mama, Mama, Mama we're all crazee integrated vendors now!” …CC

One wonders where this leaves Aderant and indeed recent investors in the FWBS/Aderant joint approach. It was probably a marriage of convenience, but with significant knock on effects.

If one best of breed vendor buys another best of breed vendor, that doesn't mean that either are no longer best of breed.

You really should look up the lyrics, Charles:
I said Mama but we're all crazy [integrated vendors] now
I said Mama but we're all crazy [integrated vendors] now
I said Mama but we're all crazy [integrated vendors] now
It seems that fool fire water will hurt you, I guess.

much like in-breeding, you end up with something pretty ugly representing the worst of both 🙂

By definition, mixing the best with the best is hardly in-breeding. Angelina and Brad's kids look good. 🙂

Yes but several of them are adopted. Not sure where this takes the analogy.

Doesn't the recently acquired Client Profiles suite add the matter management aspect to the Aderant Expert solution? I've certainly heard it spruiked as offering this functionality.

Word on the street is former elite man Patrick Hurley has been put in charge of fwbs? This after only one month of a new role back at the corporate hq of thomson? Strange ?

FWBS was bought by Elite – PH is acting as the liaison/changeover contact between FWBS and the world of TR. No mystery …CC

Fair point.. Just seems odd to set sail back into the corporate world I tr only to come back to elite after a month in a new positions..

They may add to the Aderant portfolio, but a good question is why Aderant always seem to fall out with preople who they partner with. At one stage FWBS and Aderant were very close, but that seemed to cool (so much so that FWBS have no qualms about being part of Elite/TR). Similar stories with Handshake Software – once Aderant had a new buddy to provide ClearView then Handshake were yesterdays news … and the common factors is? Some would say it's just Aderant being business like and looking after number one, but others may say that they do not understand the concept of loyalty.

Are you kidding? Let's imagine one potential scenario. Patrick makes a move to a particular slot. Elite decide to buy FWBS in a couple of months. They think, “who can we get to run this new thing? Oh yes, Patrick, let's pull him back and get him to do it”.
Or, more possibly, this has been a long term strategy with Elite having planned this from the start? Potentially meaning a month or so hiatus before the new role can be announced because of tying up loose ends before the aquisition is announced.
As CC said, no mystery here. Move along please, nothing to see.

1. If some rich guy came sniffing round my wife and started taking her out for nice dinners “cool” wouldn't be the word I'd use to describe where the relationship was headed.
2. Unless I missed something ClearView is built by Aderant but includes both in-house & 3rd party GUI's putting them in competition with Handshake… conflicts of interest tend to have a souring effect on ones partnerships
3. …common factors… where?

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