You may have missed this — as we did. But last month, the New York private equity firm Siris Capital Group quietly purchased Bellevue-based Applied Discovery from LexisNexis.
At the time of the deal, Applied Discovery’s Jon Resnick wrote in a blog post that business would operate as usual through the transition, which was described as “happening incredibly smoothly.”
But there are some changes afoot now that Siris has taken full control. We’ve heard that Applied Discovery cut about 20 staffers this week, with more layoffs on the way.
Newly-appointed CEO Ramana Venkata, an executive partner at Siris Capital who took over the helm late last year, declined to offer specifics on the number of cutbacks.
But Venkata — who is now commuting to Bellevue from San Francisco each week — said the company is eliminating positions in some areas while aggressively adding in others. After the current cutbacks are completed, Venkata said that Applied Discovery will have just shy of 150 employees. That’s down from about 175.
However, he tells GeekWire that the company will likely grow over the next 10 months to as many as 250 staffers. “The usual formula of buy it, strip it down and sell it would not work here,” noted Venkata, adding that the new management team has a desire to build Applied Discovery back up through a series of acquisitions.
“We are very much hoping for a growth story, and very much on the comeback trail,” said Venkata, who sold the e-discovery company Stratify to Iron Mountain for $158 million in 2007.
The 14-year-old company — which was acquired by LexisNexis for a reported purchase price of $95 million in 2003 — is one of the leaders in the electronic discovery industry. But Applied Discovery fell on tough times after the market shifted and corporate legal departments and law firms switched from wanting niche products to a full suite of offerings.
Under the new ownership, Venkata said the company is transforming with a “broad palate” of services.
“We are eliminating some of the positions, and hiring into others. In every group, the character is changing a bit,” said Venkata, adding that the company is “hardly sinking.”
“The goal here is to aggressively expand the size and scope of this company, so we can start acquiring other businesses into it,” he said. “You can’t take a smallish company, make it even smaller and then try to make money. That doesn’t work.”
Venkata declined to say how much Siris paid for Applied Discovery, or the amount it plans to invest.
However, he did say that Siris has “huge amounts of capital to deploy, and that’s what is being deployed here.”