BlackLine has announced the acquisition of Runbook. Rob Leesberg and Hermann Heller founded Runbook in 2001. Based in the Netherlands it also has offices in Germany, Poland, Romania, Japan, India and the USA. There is no information on the financial details behind the transaction.
This acquisition strengthens the presence of Blackline in the SAP market giving it more bases within Europe to expand from. It is slightly odd that only a few days after announcing a new German office BlackLine now finds that it has two. What it does mean is that with some cross training it has strengthened its sales force in Europe.
Therese Tucker, BlackLine CEO, commenting on the acquisition said: “Runbook is an important investment in our future, an alignment that makes BlackLine stronger on behalf of our respective customers. Runbook’s financial close automation software solutions serve some of the largest SAP organizations in the world. The company brings a wealth of talent, technology and SAP integration and execution knowledge to BlackLine, broadening our Continuous Accounting platform by adding complementary technologies. Together, we are equipped to solve the financial close management challenges faced by CFOs around the world.”
Business as usual for Runbook
The release suggests that the two founders will continue to work within the larger organisation. It also hints that the shared expertise of Blackline and Runbook will start to look beyond the boundaries of SAP. Heller, CEO at Runbook commented: “We are excited to join forces with an important market leader in the financial and accounting automation space. Throughout the years, we have had nothing but the greatest respect for BlackLine as a highly innovative organization and leader in this growing market. By uniting our SAP expertise with BlackLine’s cloud knowledge, we believe we are a much stronger company going forward.”
This is interesting. With the recent office announcement it appeared as though BlackLine were edging closer and closer to SAP. It now appears however as though there might be a larger strategy in play. Tucker also commented: “This move is part of our larger plan to deliver deeper automation across the full range of F&A processes and enterprise platforms, including more than 40 leading ERP systems.” If this is the case, one wonders what they intend to do.
One possible target market is NetSuite customers. Not perhaps for existing user base but the potential Oracle one. If Oracle decide that NetSuite is its future cloud application they will work hard to develop its vertical applications. This might open up a window of opportunity for BlackLine and Runbook. The could look to porting their IP onto the NetSuite platform. This would gives them the opportunity to become the leader in financial automation across SAP and Oracle. BlackLine may also extract some of the features that Runbook has created to strengthen its own cloud based automation solution. This would strengthen the appeal of it product across the “40 ERP” suites it integrates to.
Tennenbaum Capital Partners and some of its funds acted as an Agent for a senior credit facility to support the acquisition. This suggests that the deal was larger than BlackLine’s current cash reserves making this a significant investment for BlackLine. Will BlackLine continue to move closer to SAP or will it look to the wider market?