KUHN CAPITAL Sunday, February 25, 2018
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Two Notable Energy Software Deals


The recent sale of two prominent competitors in the energy data/software business brings to a close the marathon journeys of their entrepreneur founders.

This last April Oracle bought complex billing, load shape and meter data vendor LodeStar. The deal gets Oracle deeper into the utilities sector (not surprisingly where arch-competitor SAP is also trying to go) and puts heat on meter data vendor Itron. Chris Hamilos had originally led a management buy-out of LodeStar from Primark years ago, subsequently selling control to GFI Energy Ventures, perhaps the most successful energy data investor group.

Then this month Ventyx, a horizontal CIS and EAM vendor, bought Global Energy Decisions, a mini-conglomerate of various energy industry data and software applications built from acquisitions by Ron McMahon. Like Hamilos, McMahon ran the business for a private equity firm, in his case Quadrangle Group. McMahon had earlier founded Resource Data International (RDI), primarily a coal industry data vendor, which he sold to McGraw-Hillís Platts unit.

Ventyx itself is the result of a combination of two formally separate software vendors primarily serving the energy business: Indus International and MDSI. Ventyx is owned by yet another PE group: Vista Equity Partners.

The two deals also nearly complete the industryís consolidation into a handful of relatively large players offering energy company management software. Now the M&A action is moving into another related sector, that serving the data and software needs of the resurgent energy trading business.

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