Along with a steady stream of smaller UK and US legal IT and e-discovery service vendors who have been quietly falling off their perches during the summer months, there are also rumours rampant of major acquisitions about to be made by both EMC Documementum and Open Text in the e-discovery space. The suggestion is these companies need to make acquisitions now to round out their product offerings so they can compete with Autonomy's cradle-to-the-grave document management + document lifecycle management + EDRM/e-discovery platform, the company now has following its acquisitions of Interwoven/iManage and Zantaz. All the vendors named as either being about to make the acquisitions or being the target of such bids all denied anything was happening. There again there are currently over 600 e-discovery etc vendors in the US so we can expect a lot more more casualties and consolidation before the recession is out.

We are also hearing rumours of a systems house in the Boston (Mass)
area that is working on a legal market-specific practice management
system based around Microsoft's Dynamics/Navision platform – we won't hold our breath waiting for this one to materialise.


Finally, there are also some vendors and services that are openly on the market – well they are now…

Affiniti Inc is seeking a buyer for the IP assets relating to its ARKsuite e-discovery & KM products. This is what they have to say…

An Affiniti internal analysis estimates that the optimal development plan (cost vs. time) to bring ARKsuite to a first release will require approximately $6m and 2.5 years, assuming the retention of two key engineers responsible for the development of the product to date. This summary does not include cost estimations of other company functions such as development infrastructure (PCs, servers, software, etc), sales and marketing, support, back office operations, IP legal and accounting, and management, which potentially would require additional capital or be absorbed into the overhead costs of a larger enterprise.  So, a purchaser’s bid should account for these go-forward commitments. Affiniti has developed what it believes is a new paradigm in knowledge management and decision sciences software.  The accrued expense of the development effort to date is approximately $1.6 million to get the product to where it is.  Affiniti is seeking a buyer of this in-process R&D and values the underlying intellectual property at $1,000,000.  Management is seeking a buyer for all IP associated with the ARKsuite product and will accept the best offer among bidders no later than 2 October 2009.

SueEasy.com (never heard of them before tho I did once have a girlfriend by that name) has put itself up for auction – if you are on LinkedIn you may already have received an unsolicited pitch. This is what they have to say…

Over the past 2 years we have built SueEasy into an important player in the Web 2.0 legal lead generation space making it the de facto consumer activism, galvanization and empowerment destination. We are now involved with a new startup company which is taking up a lot of our time. Consequently, we have decided to sell SueEasy to interested parties, such as you, who will benefit from it as the company grows organically. Therefore, I would like to invite you to a private auction for the acquisition; which includes lifetime domain ownership, #1 Google positioning for important phrases, over 500 potentially multi-million dollar class actions, over 5000 registered litigants, post-acquisition customization design coding and backend support, proprietary backend software and a steady flow of cases every day exclusive to your firm. To view more information, current bids* and to place yours,

1. Go to www.SueEasy.com/lawyers/auction.php
2. Enter password: auction
3. Enter your details in the form and place your desired bid

Bidding ends 18:00 PST, 10 September 2009 (Extended on popular demand!).

* Last time the Orange Rag looked, the highest bid was $61,000 (£37,400).