WebTrends to Go It Alone

NetIQ has agreed to sell its Web analytics business unit, WebTrends, to the division’s management team and private equity firm Francisco Partners for $94 million. The purchasers plan to operate the company as a standalone private entity.

The transaction, which is expected to close this quarter, has the full support of the WebTrends and NetIQ management teams.

“As a privately held company, we’ll be much more nimble and be able to move faster,” said Greg Drew, general manager of the WebTrends unit of NetIQ. Drew will assume the role of president and CEO of WebTrends after the transaction.

The company will continue to build on its WebTrends 7 platform, and maintain existing relationships with partners like ExactTarget for email marketing and WebPosition for search marketing.

Drew said that all of WebTrends’ 247 employees will remain in place. The majority of employees are in its Portland, Ore., headquarters.

WebTrends was founded 10 years ago, and acquired by NetIQ four years ago, when the target audience of Web analytics products was more closely aligned with the audience of NetIQ’s network management and security software products.

“Back then, it was a sensible partnership. Since that time, there’s been a shift in the Web analytics space — the owner of Web analytics is not IT anymore, it’s the business owner or marketing departments,” Drew said. “As a result, there’s not as much synergy with the other products as planned.”

Though there are customers who use both WebTrends and other NetIQ products, Drew said that even in those cases, the users are in different groups within the company.

NetIQ will focus on its core IT software product lines going forward. Its systems and security management products have been rumored to be attractive acquisition targets in an industry that is seeing a wave of consolidation.

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