24 November 2017 – Phil Shawe won. After putting up the fight of his life the current co-CEO and soon-to-be sole CEO of TransPerfect was given the green light to buy the rest of the company from co-founder Liz Elting. It was not disclosed how much Shawe is paying but it’s likely Elting will pocket more than Shawe’s USD 300m offer made in 2016.
Some speculate the mass resignations of senior management in the run-up to the decision may have been a last-minute hail mary aimed at driving down the price and discouraging bidders other than Shawe. If it was, then it looks to have worked and we may see many of the executives return over the coming months. If it was not, first order of business for Shawe will be to rebuild his technology leadership team.
And now it’s off to the races. Unless Lionbridge had a big second half 2017 or announces an acquisition before the year ends, TransPerfect is most likely going to take the top spot in terms of revenues for 2017. With RWS catching up on revenues while weighing in at a cool USD 1.65bn in market cap and SDL’s turnaround potentially gaining traction soon, the race for industry leadership is set to become very interesting in 2018.
NOTE: we’ll be at “SlatorCon” this coming December 5th in Zurich, Switzerland for a full round-up of 2017 and some educated crystal ball gazing for 2018. It is always an interesting event but especially this year as as technological and competitive forces are shaping the language industry at a very crucial juncture. The event always draws industry executives, investors, and technologists.
Gregory P. Bufithis is the Founder & Chairman of The Posse List. He has over 25 years of experience in intellectual property law and digital media in the U.S. and Europe.