Yesterday, Ping Identity announced the intent of Vista Equity Partners to acquire it. Ping Identity is a privately held company backed by venture capital, and will become acquired by a private equity firm.
This acquisition is no real surprise to me. We have seen a few private equity deals in the past years, with SailPoint and NetIQ becoming acquired by Thoma Bravo (with the most of NetIQ’s business now being part of Micro Focus) or Courion becoming acquired by K1 Investment Management. Ping Identity has grown massively over the past years, so this acquisition is a logical step in their evolution and, as Ping states in the press release, “the acquisition by Vista does not preclude us from the option of IPO”.
Anyway, the main questions are about the impact on customers and on the competition. For customers, there is no direct impact. The shareholder structure of Ping Identity has changed, however the intent is to keep the management team including founder Andre Durand in place and to grow the team further. There are growth plans with a focus on both organic and inorganic growth. From my perspective, Ping Identity benefits from that acquisition, because it can now focus on innovation and growth. Mid-term, Ping Identity has the opportunity to grow their portfolio, continuing their journey from a vendor in a particular segment of the IAM (Identity and Access Management) market, i.e. Federation and Web Access, towards a platform provider with more products and services. The recent innovations and enhancements in their portfolio already have set the direction.
For the competitors, the days where they could name Ping Identity a niche vendor are finally past. Notably, Ping Identity has already grown into a 400+ employee company, well beyond the level of a start-up or a niche vendor. With the new owner, Ping Identity will be able to focus even more on extending their position in the market.
From my perspective, this deal is positive for both Ping Identity and their customers. I expect the company to further strengthen their market position, beyond pure-play Identity Federation and Access Management.
Oh, and Vista Equity Partners announced on May 31, 2016 that they have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Marketo. While Ping Identity plays an important role on the IAM side of CIAM (Customer Identity and Access Management) and KYC (Know Your Customer), Marketo is a strong player in marketing automation and analytics.