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Pitney Bowes Acquires Portrait Software
In an effort to provide better predictive analytics, Pitney Bowes pulls out its checkbook.
Posted Jul 25, 2010
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Pitney Bowes, a provider of software, hardware, and services, recently acquired United Kingdom–based software applications provider Portrait Software. After assessing the supply chain management and enterprise resource planning (ERP) space, Pitney Bowes executives felt they needed to beef up the company's business process and rules engine capabilities. The executives also sought to acquire bi-directional marketing automation and an analytics workbench. "What we saw in Portrait," says Kyle Kittleson, director of corporate strategy and M&A at Pitney Bowes Business Insight, "was that [those] technologies were orchestrating in the service of optimizing customer interactions and customer lifecycle."

The acquisition was announced after Pitney Bowes received acceptances from 90 percent of the existing issued ordinary shares of Portrait Software. As a result of the acceptances, Portrait software does report to, and is part of, Pitney Bowes. Portrait Software will be delisted from the London Stock Exchange beginning August 10.

"Pitney Bowes has been talking for a few years about going deeper into more predictive analytics for customer applications," says Forrester Research Senior Analyst James Kobielus. "They lacked a strong modeling tool until they bought Portrait, a well-established company, with a strong focus on deploying predictive models into workflows."

According to a Pitney Bowes press release, the integration between the two companies will begin immediately. Back office integration is expected to be complete within three months and the entire integration plan should take no longer than one year.

"We are looking at accelerating portrait's short term roadmap," says Kittleson. "We are looking to identify any technical integration points. For example, our data capabilities with the Portrait suite, a better connection between our composition and fulfillment capabilities with the Portrait suite. 12 months out we expect to come together as an organization."  

David Newberry, chief marketing officer at Portrait Software, believes his company has found an acquirer that shares Portrait's corporate vision. He says the two companies have a commonality in that both "use data to work out how best to help organiations communicate with customers."

With Pitney Bowes Portrait gains the reputation, trust, and geographic global reach that can  accelerate Portrait's opportunities in the marketplace.

"We've had a very successful year," Newberry says. "We've grown 10 percent. With their support we can accelerate and enrich what we take to market. We're delighted to be part of this."

"Portrait, like its competitors," Kobielus says, "in order to continue to grow its customer base, needs to be acquired by a larger better-funded global solution vendor that can put predictive modeling tools in a broader solution context. And Pitney Bowes definitely does that."

A 90-year-old company, Pitney Bowes provides software, hardware, and services that integrate physical and digital communications channels. Based in Stamford, Pitney Bowes is a $5.6 billion company that employs 33,000 worldwide. Last year, CRM magazine named Pitney Bowes Business Insight (a division of Pitney Bowes Software) its "One to Watch" in the CRM Market Leader award for Data Quality.

Time will tell if this acquisition will propel Pitney Bowes from the periphery to the forefront of the data quality category. 

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