The consolidation continues – now Lexis buys Visualfiles
LexisNexis Butterworths has just announced the acquisition of UK case management systems market leader Visualfiles Limited. Visualfiles currently serves 450 customers, predominantly in the UK, of which 300 are law firms and the others evenly split between corporate and public sectors. Visualfiles employs 150 people, mostly based at its Leeds office. The purchase price has not been disclosed.
Visualfiles chairman and founder Neil Ewin said the deal, which coincides with the 21st anniversary of the company's formation, would help take the company forward in a way that would not have been possible if it had remained independent. Visualfiles will continue to supply its traditional case management software however Ewin said the benefits of the new relationship with LexisNexis would most strikingly be seen through integration with the company's M2 matter management/matter-centric system and its soon to be launched Manilla workflow & document assembly system, as they would now deliver users the additional functionality of information portals and knowledge management.
The company – now renamed LexisNexis Visualfiles – will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of LexisNexis Butterworths, with both Mark Woodward, as managing director, and Neil Ewin remaining with the business. Both will join the board of LexisNexis in the UK and Ewin – who has the new title of Chief Software Architect (the only other person we know with that job title is Bill Gates of Microsoft) will also report to the LexisNexis international board on a brief that includes expanding the Visualfiles business into new international markets.
In case you are getting confused by all the consolidation taking part in the legal IT market, this is the story so far… In May the Computer Software Group (CS Group) bought Hull-based AIM for £5.3 million. In June FWBS bought Pericom's legal division and at the end of the month CS Group bought Laserform International for £4.8 million. LexisNexis have now bought Visualfiles and, assuming all goes to plan, by the end of this month Symphony Technology will have acquired Hummingbird for US$465 million. Our sources suggest that at least one more practice management systems supplier will change hands over the next four weeks and that another UK venture capital group has also begun approaching legal IT suppliers.