The news is out about Thoma Bravo’s recent acquisition of ConnectWise, a business process automation platform developer that provides various tools to technology MSPs, helping them centralize and automate many aspects of their business. This acquisition will boost the Thoma Bravo portfolio of services and offerings in the MSP space, and will allow ConnectWise to use Thoma Bravo’s experience and capital to pursue organic growth and new strategic acquisitions.

However, CEO Arnie Bellini won’t be leaving the company just yet. He’ll be taking an advisory role from now on, and has put former COO Jason Magee in charge. Bellini stated that “Jason has more than 20 years of deep industry experience with MSPs and VARs. Because Jason’s been in their shoes, he is committed to ConnectWise’s partners. He will continue driving the passion, culture and innovation that our partners and colleagues expect from us.”

Connecting value and expertise

The decision to partner with Thoma Bravo didn’t just come out of the blue for ConnectWise. In an interview with CRN, Bellini mentioned that he went to several private equity firms, looking not for money but also for an investor that would best fit his business.

“That’s very different from what most companies do,” explained Bellini. “They go to auction and they say ‘Hey shop us and the highest price wins.’ We did the opposite. It wasn’t about the highest price. It was about the very best fit strategically for our partners, for our colleagues, for our vision and our mission. Thoma Bravo was the clear and obvious choice, because it matched up on all of those: strategy, vision, mission, our culture, and our management team.”

Best in class

The move with ConnectWise is another piece of an impressive and ongoing M&A strategy, and it doesn’t take an industry innovator like Arnie Bellini to see Thoma Bravo’s growing pedigree. Thoma Bravo has invested in many successful companies over the years, including McAfee, Dynatrace, Kofax, and even ConnectWise’s competitor Continuum. They’ve built a reputation on investing in companies that provide immaculate products and innovative services.

Thoma Bravo partner Robert Sayle agrees, and stresses the value ConnectWise represents as a leader and pioneer in the Managed Service Provider (MSP) and broader IT services space. “For nearly 40 years, the company has been providing the most comprehensive integrated software solutions to its community of partners. Under the strong leadership of Arnie and the management team, ConnectWise has innovated and created top tier products and services, and we are thrilled to partner with Jason to enable further success and opportunity for ConnectWise partners.”

Empire-building strategy

With ConnectWise under its belt, Thoma Bravo is positioned to grow into an equity empire. Ten billion dollars of revenue is generated each year between the 35 (now 36) companies Thoma Bravo has invested in. With their oversight and capital investment, these companies have been allowed to grow into large and successful business ventures. And now with their acquisition of both Continuum and ConnectWise, two of the biggest business automation platforms, they are in an enviable position to seek out more acquisitions in the IT and enterprise software space. Who’s next?

Patricia Ames is president and senior analyst for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. As a market analyst and industry consultant, Ames has worked for prominent consulting firms including KPMG and has more than 15 years experience in the imaging industry covering technology and business sectors. Ames has lived and worked in the United States, Southeast Asia and Europe and enjoys being a part of a global industry and community.