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Visiting with Openlink, now an ION Investment Group company

Now that the acquisition of Openlink by ION has closed, I visited with Openlink’s EVP & CMO Nancy Pearson, and Ken Knowles, EVP of strategy & business development, this morning to get an update. With the the deal having only recently closed about two weeks ago, Ms. Pearson and Mr. Knowles did say that there is clearly still much that needs to be completed, including integration of administrative systems and processes, and the continuing development of strategies to best leverage the new cross-organizational product capabilities now available within the other ION owned businesses.

They also said that Openlink is now an independent operation in ION’s commodity trading portfolio of businesses…essentially mirroring the strategy described by Aspect’s president, Steve Hughes, in our recent blog post discussing that company’s acquisition by ION. Additionally, they pointed out that Openlink capabilities in financial markets and treasury risk are also complementary to other ION Treasury business line as well. In fact, Ms. Pearson noted that just today they delivered a webinar featuring both Openlink and ION Treasury group speakers – an event that she believes highlights the rapid progress they’ve already made in integrating into the greater ION group.

 

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As I mentioned in the Aspect blog post, the strategy of keeping these acquired companies as independently operating businesses (though with a common parent) is clearly in the best interests of both these companies and their customers:

  • No attempted (and from a practical perspective, impossible) reconciliation of disparate technologies to create a single monolithic unifying solution
  • A stable, long-term ownership strategy by ION that enables a longer view of product investments and technical evolution for each of the portfolio companies’ solutions
  • Allows customers and prospects to decide which solutions are a best fit for their needs
  • An ability to leverage products from the “family” of fellow portfolio companies to address client needs when necessary; and to leverage R&D spend across the company to better develop and deploy new technology solutions.

No doubt Openlink customers will be watching developments closely, and with a wary eye. However, given the poor history of CTRM vendors that have acquired competitors and tried (and failed) to force fit disparate technologies and overlapping capabilities together, the approach being followed here by ION certainly looks to be in the best interests of all involved.