Bureau van Dijk Orbis Enhancements

Bureau van Dijk announced a series of enhancements to their Orbis company research and financial analysis platform.  New or enhanced features include financial transparency, customization, batch search, improved navigation, expanded searching, and the addition of Moody’s research.

As ever, we’re creating, incorporating and rolling out features and functionality on the new Orbis interface all the time.  Each enhancement is intended to help make sure that you can take full advantage of our rich, structured data in order to carry out your research processes as efficiently and effectively as possible.

  • Bureau van Dijk CMO Louise Green

Bureau van Dijk added custom variables that are available in books (reports), chapters, an searches.  Users may also create custom books and chapters.

BvD Orbis improved-navigation-of-booksUI enhancements include improved book navigation so that users can move between chapters more easily; batch searching of company names by pasting a list of company names into the name search; expanded searching of ownership structures; free-text searching of notes; and enhanced viewing and filtering of corporate directors and advisors.  Directors are now sorted by department and filterable by role, seniority, and data source.

Users can now click on financial values to see the underlying calculations.

New premium content includes research from Moody’s Analytics spanning 9,000 company and 7,500 industry reports.  Both public and private companies and banks are covered.  The reports may be purchased using BvD credits on a pay-per-view basis.  In September, Moody’s rating announcements will be added to the service.  Other company research sources include MarketLine, Morningstar, and GlobalData.  MarketLine also provides industry market research to Bureau van Dijk products.

Finally, Bureau van Dijk added a new tax explorer premium service which flags “entities in low-tax jurisdictions.”

Bureau van Dijk also released a set of enhancements in April including original documents from aRMadillo.


Moody’s is in the midst of acquiring Bureau van Dijk.  The transaction is expected to close this month.  Moody’s CEO Raymond McDaniel said he “looks forward to further extending Moody’s position as a leader in risk data and analytical insight.”  The firm has already received EU Merger Regulation approval from the European Commission.

Ignite Technologies Acquires FirstRain

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FirstRain Coverage of Lattice Engines includes web volume, business influencers, market drivers, Twitter trends, recent stories, related topics, and subject filtering.

Ignite Technologies will be acquiring news analytics vendor FirstRain as part of a pre-negotiated, Chapter 11 corporate reorganization.  The acquisition is expected to close by the end of July subject to court approval.  The acquisition is being funded by Ignite’s parent company, ESW Capital.

FirstRain provides a set of company-specific insights and analytics derived from news, press releases, filings, Twitter, and other open web content sets.  FirstRain applies a high-precision taxonomy to the “business web” which spans companies, industries, geographies, and business topics.  For the past few years, FirstRain has been the source of company and industry news for Dun & Bradstreet (Hoovers Classic, First Research, D&B Direct, and D&B 360), Mergent, and other OEM partners.  FirstRain also provides integrated solutions on Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Microsoft SharePoint.

FirstRain Who to Call Panel.
The FirstRain Who to Call Panel provides insights on which accounts have Deal Threats and Accelerators, Reasons to Check In, or New Information.

“FirstRain’s leading-edge, analytics technology providing actionable insights for its clients’ sales and marketing teams strengthens Ignite’s portfolio of sales and marketing solutions,” said Ignite’s CEO Davin Cushman. “Additionally, with the close of the FirstRain acquisition, Ignite will be materially expanding our foundation of sales and marketing solutions that Chief Marketing and Chief Revenue Officers can depend on to drive their business.”

Once the acquisition closes, FirstRain will be part of the Ignite Prime product offering which provides access to enterprise software by simply paying a maintenance fee on at least one Ignite standard solution.

“Ignite has a proven track record of buying, strengthening and growing the companies it acquires, and FirstRain is excited about the potential for our world-class teams to carry the FirstRain solutions and customers forward,” said YY Lee, Chief Executive Officer of FirstRain. “Through this acquisition, Ignite’s foundation of success and innovative programs, including their unique Ignite Prime program, extends the value proposition even further for FirstRain customers, now and into the future.”

LinkedIn Acquires Heighten for SalesTech Tools

Heighten Homepage Announcement (Post-Acquisition)
Heighten Homepage Announcement (Post-Acquisition)

LinkedIn acquired Redwood City SalesTech vendor Heighten and plans to integrate its technology into Sales Navigator. LinkedIn is looking to leverage feature sets around sales process tracking, pipeline reporting, and note taking. Last summer, LinkedIn acquired sales content sharing vendor PointDrive and recently completed the PointDrive integration into Sales Navigator.

With the announcement, Heighten immediately took down its website, but Doug Camplejohn, Head of Products for LinkedIn Sales Solutions, provided the following feature descriptions:

The sales process tracking feature allows reps and managers to take their sales playbook binder off the shelf and put it into software, making it easier to see actions and content relevant to each pipeline stage.

The sales pipeline reporting feature lets managers and reps see their current opportunities in a more efficient way, and update key opportunity fields like amount, close date, stage and next steps on a single screen, with all changes automatically written back to CRM.

Finally, the intelligent notepad makes it easy for reps to take free-form notes and rapidly move information back into their CRM system with a single click. It also gives them instant access to key deal content such as person and account profiles, collateral, and competitive battle cards. This feature brings note taking into the context of a specific sales opportunity, reduces the heavy lifting involved in CRM data entry, and gives sales reps insights on-command

It is unclear, however, which of these capabilities will be integrated into Sales Navigator. “Over the next few months, we will be evaluating which of Heighten’s features we’ll be bringing to Sales Navigator,” said Camplejohn. “I’m also excited by the caliber of talent that Heighten brings to LinkedIn.”

Heighten has a staff of ten.

“The Heighten intelligent workspace is truly unique in its ability to bring together all of the key systems salespeople rely on — CRM, calendar, email, social and delivered — in an innovative, intuitive, and user friendly way,” blogged Heighten CEO, Luke Braud. “This approach to sales productivity is a natural extension of LinkedIn’s goal to make Sales Navigator the best version of LinkedIn for Salespeople, the System of Engagement, and ultimately influence every relationship‐based sale for our customers.”

Heighten received $7.36 million in venture funding last September. The acquisition price was not disclosed.

Moody’s Acquires Bureau van Dijk

Moody’s announced this morning that they are acquiring business intelligence vendor Bureau van Dijk for €3.0 billion (approximately $3.27 billion). Moody’s stated that “the acquisition extends Moody’s position as a leader in risk data and analytical insight.”  The deal is subject to EU approval and is expected to close in Q3.

Bureau van Dijk will be acquired with approximately $1.3 billion in offshore cash and $2 billion in debt.  Bureau van Dijk will be folded into Moody’s Analytics’ Research, Data & Analytics (RD&A).

Last year, Bureau van Dijk earned $281 million (€258 million) and posted and EBITDA of $144 million (€132 million).  Bureau van Dijk has a ten-year Compound Average Growth Rate (CAGR ) of 9.3%.  The firm anticipates $45 million of annual revenue and expense synergies by 2019 and $80 million by 2021.

Source: Moody's Investor Site (May 15 2017)
Source: Moody’s Investor Site (May 15 2017)

Bureau van Dijk offers three major product lines:

  • Orbis – Financial analysis tools spanning 220 million companies.  Information includes firmographics, public and private company financials, original documents, global family trees, shareholdings, news, and M&A research (Zephyr).  Orbis provides the deepest set of global private company financial coverage tied to very strong linkage data including minority shareholdings.  Orbis was redesigned last year with a new user interface and workflows.  The Orbis product line is also available as regional and local products such as Amadeus in Europe, Oriana in AsiaPac, and Fame in the UK.
  • Mint – Sales intelligence product line
  • Catalyst – Set of workflow tools for valuation, transfer pricing, credit analysis, wallet sizing, etc.

All three product lines leverage the Orbis global company file which is collected from 160 information partners.

“Bureau van Dijk is a high growth information aggregator and distributor that positions Moody’s at the center of a unique network of global risk data,” said Raymond McDaniel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Moody’s. “This acquisition provides significant opportunities for Moody’s Analytics to offer complementary products, create new risk solutions and extend its reach to new and evolving market segments.”

The Bureau van Dijk customer base is split fairly evenly across 6,000 financial institutions, professional service firms, government authorities, and corporations.  Key use cases include compliance, KYC/AML, risk decisioning, purchasing, transfer pricing, B2B sales and marketing, financial analysis, and economic research.

Source: Moody's Investor Site (May 15 2017)
Source: Moody’s Investor Site (May 15 2017)

Moody’s listed a three-pronged product strategy post-acquisition:

  • Apply MA analytics to data to generate off-the-shelf financial metrics

  • Package BvD data subscriptions with MA analytical software & models

  • Enrich MIS/MA data sets with BvD’s proprietary identifiers

Moody’s will also be looking to extend Bureau van Dijk’s commercial presence beyond Europe and to non-financial customers.  The acquisition helps Moody’s extend its addressable market beyond credit to provide “Moody’s-branded scores/assessments for tax risk, transfer pricing, compliance, financial crime, [and] supply chain management.”

“Moody’s is a highly regarded, authoritative source of credit ratings and analytical tools, with a strong brand and global reach,” said Mark Schwerzel, Deputy CEO of Bureau van Dijk. “The addition of Bureau van Dijk’s powerful information platform to Moody’s Analytics’ suite of risk management solutions presents a wide range of opportunities for us to better serve our combined customer base.”

Bureau van Dijk has been owned by a series of private equity firms with EQT acquiring the firm from Charterhouse Capital Partners in September 2014.  At the time, the sale price was not disclosed.  Charterhouse acquired Bureau van Dijk in 2011 from BC Partners for €960m.

EQT noted the following areas of investment during its ownership period:

  • Development of the organisational structure to prepare for further growth

  • Investments in the sales organization, including the introduction of a matrix sales structure, implementation of a global CRM system, and expansion of the salesforce

  • Strong focus on the development of new products and continued improvement of existing ones, e.g. the launch of a new user interface

  • Substantial investments in marketing and corporate branding

LinkedIn: Now Part of Microsoft

On December 9th, Microsoft announced closure of its $26.2 billion LinkedIn acquisition following EU approval.  The full approval process took just about six months.  Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is “even more enthusiastic” about the transaction than he was in June.

Nadella listed the following “immediate term” integration scenarios:

  • LinkedIn identity and network in Microsoft Outlook and the Office suite
  • LinkedIn notifications within the Windows action center
  • Enabling members drafting résumés in Word to update their profiles, and discover and apply to jobs on LinkedIn
  • Extending the reach of Sponsored Content across Microsoft properties
  • Enterprise LinkedIn Lookup powered by Active Directory and Office 365
  • LinkedIn Learning available across the Office 365 and Windows ecosystem
  • Developing a business news desk across our content ecosystem and MSN.com
  • Redefining social selling through the combination of Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365

The emphasis on expanded opportunities for individuals to learn, compete, network, collaborate, and find jobs was a key justification of the merger.  “While technology tools are not a panacea for current economic challenges, we believe they can make an important contribution,” said Microsoft’s Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith.  “Microsoft and LinkedIn together have a bigger opportunity to help people online to develop and earn credentials for new skills, identify and pursue new jobs, and become more creative and productive as they work with their colleagues. Working together we can do more to serve not only those with college degrees, but the many people pursuing new experiences, skills and credentials related to vocational training and so-called middle skills. Our ambition is to do our part to create more opportunity for people who haven’t shared in recent economic growth.”

The LinkedIn and Microsoft Graphs complement each other and will help build LinkedIn's vision of an Economic Graph.
The LinkedIn and Microsoft Graphs complement each other and will help build LinkedIn’s vision of an Economic Graph.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner views the transaction as an opportunity to expand LinkedIn’s Economic Graph “and ultimately help create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”  LinkedIn will operate as an independent division with “the same mission and vision, the same culture and values, the same brand, and the same leadership team.”

Weiner reiterated LinkedIn’s commitment to its members, their privacy, and information security.  The firm “remains focused on growing LinkedIn and creating value for our members and customers with a focus on integrating LinkedIn products with Microsoft.

The EU placed a few requirements on the deal, but did not view the transaction as anti-competitive, a position held by Salesforce.com.  The EU evaluated the impact on professional social networks, CRM solutions, and API access.  As an accommodation, Microsoft committed to a five year period in which it will

  • Ensure that PC manufacturers and distributors would be free not to install LinkedIn on Windows and allowing users to remove LinkedIn from Windows should PC manufacturers and distributors decide to preinstall it.
  • Allow competing professional social network service providers to maintain current levels of interoperability with Microsoft’s Office suite of products through the so-called Office add-in program and Office application programming interfaces.
  • Grant competing professional social network service providers access to “Microsoft Graph”, a gateway for software developers. It is used to build applications and services that can, subject to user consent, access data stored in the Microsoft cloud, such as contact information, calendar information, emails, etc. Software developers can potentially use this data to drive subscribers and usage to their professional social networks.

Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: “A growing number of Europeans subscribe to professional social networks. These networks are important for professionals to connect and interact and to find new career opportunities. Today’s decision ensures that Europeans will continue to enjoy a freedom of choice between professional social networks.”

Data on employees by function from beta company profile page.
Data on LinkedIn employees by function from beta company profile page.

LinkedIn has 467 million global members and supports two dozen languages.  The firm continues to add members at the rate of two per second.  Last quarter, LinkedIn earned $960 million across three divisions: Talent Solutions ($623 million), Marketing Solutions ($175 million), and Premium Subscriptions ($162 million).

Conversation Starters

LinkedIn rolled out a new Conversation Starter feature to promote system messaging via a lightbulb icon.  The feature analyzes the target individual’s profile to provide a series of conversational options.  After selecting a potential opener, the user can modify the text to their voice.  Starters include recent profile updates, work anniversaries, recent posts, mutual connections, and shared backgrounds (e.g. alma mater, former employers, groups).

li-conversation-starter“We know that reaching out to reconnect, ask for advice or network for potential job opportunities can be intimidating, so we’ve added personalized conversation starters in LinkedIn messaging to give members authentic ways to break the ice,” the company said in a blog post.

Unfortunately, the Conversation Starters on their marketing video are mostly focused on connections.  This could result in a spate of similar sounding openers that could quickly become SPAM.  This focus could be simply a marketing oversight, but variations on “Hi Suzi, I noticed you have X connections at Google.  Have you heard…” seem like a weak set of Conversation Starters.  While better than cold messages such as “Hi Suzi, I’m reaching out to you because my company…”, their sample seems uninspired.  Furthermore, the Conversation Starters do not contain any stored messages from the sales rep to expedite the message creation process.

Meeting Scheduling

LinkedIn will soon be rolling out a bot to assist with multi-party meeting scheduling.

Decommissioning Professional Edition Features

According to Intero Advisory, a LinkedIn coaching service, LinkedIn is looking to migrate sales clients from their Professional edition to Sales Navigator.  As part of this effort, LinkedIn is dropping two features from the Pro service: 1) Premium Search Filters and 2) Notes and Tags for connections.  LinkedIn said these features will be available through the end of March.  Users have until then to download any Notes and Tags.  To help accommodate users, LinkedIn is offering a free three-month trial of Sales Navigator which includes the transfer of Notes and Tags.

Trillium Software Sold to SyncSort

"Why Good Data Matters" Statistics from Trillium Software
“Why Good Data Matters” Statistics from Trillium Software

Harte-Hanks, which has been looking to sell off its Trillium Software data quality division for several quarters, found an acquirer in SyncSort.  The $112 million transaction will combine the data quality and integration capabilities of the two firms with a focus on extending Trillium services into the Hadoop big data platform.  The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

“With most large enterprises making significant investments in Big Data for business and operational analytics, core data integration and data quality workloads are moving into Hadoop at a rapid pace,” said SyncSort CEO Josh Rogers. “As a pioneer in bringing high-performance data integration software to the Hadoop ecosystem, Syncsort sees an opportunity to extend our unique value with Trillium’s proven, best-of-breed data quality products. Together, we are a clear leader in the data integration and data quality market, and the logical choice for large enterprises seeking to chart a path to Hadoop. We look forward to working closely with Trillium’s customers and investing in the great products they have come to rely on.”’

Harte-Hanks has been slimming itself down the past few years.  They sold off both their publishing group and Trillium Software and spun off Aberdeen Services (Aberdeen market research and Access CI technology database).

“Our announcement today is the result of a comprehensive process to maximize the value of the Trillium Software business in the growing Data Quality and Data Governance segment,” said Harte-Hanks CEO Karen Puckett. “Now Harte Hanks can wholly focus resources on our core strengths and capitalize on our unique combination of marketing strategy, analytics, and execution capabilities. The sale of Trillium Software, along with the cost reduction program we implemented in 2016, provides Harte Hanks with a stronger balance sheet as we move the Company on its path toward revenue stability and historically strong cash flows and improved profitability.”

In a recent Magic Quadrant on Data Quality Tools, Gartner placed Trillium in the Leaders quadrant and gave them high marks for the “strength and stability” of their core profiling, parsing, standardization, and matching functionality.  Trillium also was noted for its “strong mind share and a very long and solid track record of delivering data quality solutions” and its growth in the cloud-based deployments.

On the negative side, Gartner noted concerns about pricing, “ease of installation, upgrade, and migration,” and the uncertainty that surrounds the Harte-Hanks divestment (the analysis was prior to the announcement).

LinkedIn Salary: Expanding the Economic Graph

LinkedIn continues the build out of its Economic Graph with the launch of LinkedIn Salary.  The new tool provides salary data alongside other elements of the Economic Graph including jobs, employees, organizations, skills, and educational institutions.

“This includes salary, bonus, and equity data for specific job titles, and the different factors that impact pay such as years of experience, industry, company size, location, and education level — all of which becomes critical knowledge as you navigate your career,” LinkedIn wrote. “Also, rest assured that when you enter your salary, it’s immediately encrypted and remains private.”

LinkedIn Salary
LinkedIn Salary

The service provides a set of salary analytics related to job, experience, industry, and location.  The user begins by specifying the position and location.  They can then quickly filter by industry and experience.  Both median salary and median compensation are immediately displayed along with a compensation histogram.  Other details include annual bonus, commission, restricted stock units, and stock options.  Other salary analytics include base salaries by company size, industry, education level, field of study, and top locations.

Another valuable tool is compensation data by position for key employers in a metro area.

LinkedIn Salary data at top companies by title and location.
LinkedIn Salary data at top companies by title and location.

The service is currently available in the US, UK, and Canada with plans to expand globally in 2017.  To obtain full salary details, users must provide their salary details or have a LinkedIn Premium subscription.

Other vendors providing similar data include Glassdoor and Salary.com.

Other recent LinkedIn developments in the news:

  • LinkedIn anticipates that the Microsoft acquisition will close by the end of 2016.  They are awaiting approval from the European authorities and then should be ready to complete the $26.2 billion transaction.
  • LinkedIn was blocked in Russia last week after they failed to comply with Russian rules concerning the housing of data related to Russian citizens.  The service has six million Russian members.  The block goes back to a 2014 law which was enacted after social media-fueled protests against the Putin regime.

Note: The link to the Glassdoor salary site was added on December 1st.