Thursday, April 30, 2015

Xerox CFO Comments Seem to Rule Out Kofax Bid

Xerox recently adjusted its outlook for 2015 in the wake of fairly weak Q1 results. But, the big news for our readers may be Xerox CFO Kathryn Mikells' comments on the company's acquisition goals. Mikells told Reuters: "We're expecting to do up to $900 million in acquisitions this year and early next year." This would seem to rule out a bid for Kofax, for which Lexmark has already bid $1B.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Kruchten to Depart Kodak Alaris

Dolores Kructhen, who has served as president of Kodak Alaris Document Imaging - DI (recently renamed Information Management- IM), since it was launched in 2013, is leaving the company at the end of May. Here's the official statement from Kodak Alaris:

"Dolores Kruchten, President of the Information Management division, has decided to leave Kodak Alaris at the end of May. All of us at Kodak Alaris thank Dolores for her contributions over the years and wish her all the very best for the future. We are actively recruiting – in the interim, Ralf Gerbershagen and Jeff Goodman will work closely with the existing Information Management Executive leadership team to ensure a smooth transition."

Kruchten started with Kodak  in 1981. She held numerous positions at Kodak Document Imaging, including running the hardware service business for Kodak Graphic Communications before taking over as GM of DI in 2007. Kruchten oversaw that transition of DI from a division of Eastman Kodak to one of the two principal divisions of Kodak Alaris - which were spun off as part of Eastman Kodak's bankruptcy proceedings.

The DI business struggled with uncertainty in 2012 and most of 2013, before bouncing back with a strong year for scanner sales in 2014. Like many hardware vendors, it is attempting to move towards more of a solutions approach and has added more software to its portfolio. Last week, DIR ran a story on Russell Hunt's retirement as Regional GM of the US&C for DI/IM. He is being replaced by Martin Birch, who had previously served as regional GM for EMEA at DI/IM.


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Xerox Leaves Door Open for Kofax Bid

Here's the statement I received from Xerox after asking for a comment on Lexmark's $1B bid to acquire Kofax: "While we cannot comment on Lexmark’s decision to acquire Kofax, we can say that today we are more confident than ever in our capability to deliver outstanding Next Generation Managed Print Services, Document Outsourcing and workflow to our customers and prospects. If and when the transaction is completed, we will re-evaluate our strategic partnership with Kofax.  In the meantime, we will continue to maintain our partnership with them to support  existing customer engagements where Kofax has been adopted. We are committed to open standards and when customers choose Xerox and another partner or competitor, we will work diligently to ensure that their environment works flawlessly."

Sounds to me like their might be conversations brewing within Xerox to make a higher bid, as I don't know what else could prevent the transaction from being completed. The "if and when" certainly makes it sound like Xerox is not considering this a done deal. If the deal is completed, it also certainly sounds like Xerox will be moving on from Kofax.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Dialogue with Xamcor's Paul Carman on Lexmark-Kofax Deal

The following is a correspondence between Ralph Gammon, the editor of the Document Imaging Report, and Paul Carman, President and CEO of Xamcor, discussing what this deal means to the companies involved, as well as the industry as a whole.

Ralph Gammon of DIR: So, no surprise that an MFP vendor has announced plans to acquire Kofax. What is surprising is that it was Lexmark, instead of Xerox.

Paul Carman of Xamcor: I agree. Of course, it’s no surprise that Lexmark made another software acquisition , as they have been very active in building their software capabilities. However, Kofax does come as a bit of a surprise. With Brainware, an earlier acquisition, and then ReadSoft closing some months ago, the capture space didn’t seem to be the next logical area of opportunity.

To read the rest, please click through to the Xamcor site

Part II of the interview, in which we discuss if there is any merit to a shareholder rights-focused law firm filing a complaint against Kofax for not maximizing shareholder value.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lexmark Attempting To Corner the Market on Capture

Wow. That really caught me by surprise. About 4:30 today it was announced that Lexmark was acquiring Kofax for $1B net of cash. I was just finishing up my Kofax Transform conference story and about to start writing my piece about how Xerox was going to integrate the Kofax technology into its organization. It really made a compelling story. And the rumor circulating around AIIM last week, was the the Xerox-Kofax deal was going to close any day...Then I heard something about Kofax asking for too much, and the next thing I know Lexmark announced it had made a bid of $11 per share, or about a 47% premium over what the Kofax stock was trading at today. It's also more than 3x Kofax's 2014 reported non-GAAP reported revenue of $297M -so from that perspective it's not a bad deal.

There is a lot to like about this deal from Perceptive's standpoint. It's latest and most aggressive move in an already aggressive ECM software strategy. That said, there is certainly some overlap with the recent ReadSoft acquisition, as well as its previous Brainware acquisition. But, if you are going to transition from a hardware to a software vendor, you might as well go hard.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Xerox make a counter offer, but if $1B was already too rich for their blood. But still, if I was Xerox, I would be looking to find some money somewhere, because they really were planning on investing a lot in this partnership and now Kofax is in danger of being taken off the market by a competitor. Exciting times.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ephesoft's Vision for the Future of IDR

Coming out of AIIM last year I had come up with a vision on the potential future of the document imaging industry. I've repeated the mantra several times since - and it goes like this: "Capture it all and let the technology sort it out."

In fact, I recently completed a piece for Quality Associates' upcoming Insights newsletter detailing what I see as some of the driving forces behind this vision. They include trends like increased multi-channel capture and increasing intelligence in capture driven by emerging technology like natural language processing.

This year I attended the Ephesoft Innovate conference  prior to heading down to San Diego for AIIM 2015. At Innovate, Ephesoft founder and CTO Ike Kavas presented on his vision for the future - which I thought dovetailed nicely with mine. Kavas and his team at Ephesoft have even gone so far as to developing a brand new product - Ephesoft Universe - designed to enable organizations to mine their documents.

Due for release later this year, Universe leverages Big Data tools like Hadoop. According to Kavas, Universe is able to leverage 16 different characteristics to classify a document and recognize a field. Ephesoft is developing machine learning algorithms to consider these characteristics. The bottom line is that this is a lot of data being put through a process that requires a lot of computing power - hence the need for the Big Data tools, especially if a user is throwing a high-volume of documents at it.

The end game for Universe is trying to reduce the time it takes to implement a classification and extraction application from months to minutes. Also, the idea is to enable individual users (not system admins) to set up personalized auto-classification and extraction applications.

Kavas was brave enough to show a demo of Universe, which he expects to be released, in Version 1.0, later this spring. Basically, a user creates their own document classes, feeds it examples, and chooses and labels which fields it wants to extract based on the highlighted fields that Universe was able to recognize. Once the data is extracted, it is fed into an analytics application that is also built into Universe. An example Kavas showed utilized hot/cold zone graphing to show the average price of houses in different states in the country.

Other potential application ideas tossed about included mining medical records for various reasons including enforcing records retention policies, mining expense reports to enable more informed negotiations with vendors, and examining financial documents for at-risk loans or security risks.

There is a lot here, and I'll have more detail in my next premium issue of DIR. Ephesoft's current goal is to find some customers and partners to help it determine what needs to be done next on the road to productizing Universe. But, there is clearly a lot of potential, mainly because it offers to make accessible what has historically been very high-end technology, whose adoption has been slowed somewhat I feel by paralysis by overanalysis.  If Ephesoft can really make Universe a universal tool, I think we'll start to see a slew of new IDR applications developed on top of it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Recent Quarterly Financials Show Signs of Maturing Market

As I mentioned in the latest issue of our premium publication, over the past two weeks, a number of document imaging software vendors released their numbers for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2014. I would have liked to cover some of these numbers in the newsletter, but since all the information is publicly available anyhow, I bumped it for some original content. Anyhow, here are some of the highlights I pulled off of news releases, presentations, and transcripts of analyst calls:

Lemark/Perceptive Software
  • For Q4, Lexmark reported Perceptive Software revenue of $99M, which represented 37% YoY growth. 
  • For FY14, Lexmark reported Perceptive Software revenue of $313M or 31% growth. 
  • That sounds great, until you get to the fine print where it says, "Perceptive Software organic growth of -10% for Q4, excludes acquisitions completed in the past four quarters. Perceptive Software organic growth of -3% for the full year 2014. (ReadSoft and its $100M of annual revenue was the big acquisition).
  • In the analyst conference call, CFO and VP David Reeder said Perceptive revenue was negatively affected by "large deal timing and a shift from perpetual license to subscription sales."
  • Perceptive did, however, manage an operating income of $11M in Q4, up considerably from 2013's $2M income for Q4, and up $3M from Q3. The fourth quarter boosted Perceptive's operating income for the year to $14M - a $16M improvement from the previous year.
  • Commented CEO Paul Rooke, "We also expect continued growth and margin expansion in Perceptive Software as we strengthen our solutions offerings, factor in a full year of the cost and expense reductions taken in the second half of 2014, optimize maintenance pricing, and execute the expected cost synergies with the integration of ReadSoft."
  • Rooke also commented that he felt Perceptive was on target for hitting Lexmark's 2016 goals of $500M in annual revenue and 25% operating margins. "Perceptive Software revenue and operating income continued to make steady progress to our 2016 revenue and operating margin targets. We are quite pleased with the trajectory of the business as revenue and operating margin grew year-over-year and sequentially."
  • As pre-reported, Kofax showed growth in both its software license sales and total revenue for its FY15 Q2.
  • However, the net total revenue growth was only $4M, the bulk of which could theoretically be attributed last fall's acquisition of SoftPro last fall, which had reported $13M of revenue for 2013. So, like Perceptive, Kofax really didn't see much organic growth in the quarter.
  • Unlike Lexmark, Kofax can't blame the slowed growth on a switch to more subscription sales. When asked about recurring revenue during the analyst conference call, Bish estimated that 90% of Kofax's was coming from maintenance and only 10%, from what he called "term" licenses, which I assume means subscriptions, with most of the term licenses coming from Kapow, which primarily followed a subscription model when Kofax acquired it.
  • Bish also said that going forward, Kofax will no longer differentiate between "core capture" sales and sales from "mobile and new or acquired products." In the call with analysts, he explained, "Software license revenue from core capture products declined year-over-year in both the second quarter and six months ended Dec. 31, 2014, but at a lower rate in the second quarter than the first quarter. These declines were primarily driven by customers increasingly choosing to purchase Kofax TotalAgility and solutions built on that platform as well as our mobile capture, Web capture, and electronic content transformation products rather than our legacy Kofax Capture and Kofax Transformation Modules products.

    "The capture market is not in a state of decline nor is Kofax losing market share. Rather, we are undergoing a rather dramatic shift in buying preferences from our legacy capture software products to our mobile and new or acquired products.

    "As a result of the complexity of these issues discussed above and the challenges associated with accurately calculating Kofax's multi-channel capture revenues, we will no longer report core capture revenues or attempt to report multi-channel capture revenues. Instead, we will only report total software license revenue.
  • Kofax's profitability was way up compared to its FY15 Q1 with its operating margins coming in at 17.7% for Q2, compared to just 6.3% in Q1.
  • Subsequent to its earnings release, Kofax announced that its shareholders voted in favor of a plan to delist the company's shares from the LSE, so they would be listed exclusively on the Nasdaq. Plans to carry out that motion are underway.
  • The deslisting was one of four matters voted on by the shareholders, with all being approved except for a call to change the company by-laws to make them more "customary for a Bermudian company with shares only listed on NASDAQ." It sounds like the Kofax board would still like to get that proposal passed.
  • Nuance reported Document Imaging revenue for its FY15 Q1 of $60.1M, a slight increase over its FY14 Q1 revenue of $58.3M, but it's important to note that the previous year's Nuance's revenue did not include Notable Solutions, Inc. which was acquired this summer.
  • Most likely buoyed by NSi sales, had had a very strong FY14 Q4.
  • EMC's reported its 2014 Q4 revenue for its Information Intelligence Group (IIG), which includes Documentum and Captiva, as $174M, which represented an 8% YOY drop. For the year, IIG's revenue was $640M, which represented only a 1% drop.
  • Also, at its recent sales meeting for the group, EMC announced it has changed the name from IIG to the Enterprise Content Division (ECD).
So there you have it. A brief analysis would tell you that there wasn't a lot of organic growth in the past quarter among these market leaders, which is not a good sign. Profitability on the other hand was up. Add these two trends together, and it seems like we now have a fairly mature market.

All quotes from analyst calls were transcripts compiled by Seeking Alpha.