Strattam to buy majority stake in software firm Blacksmith Applications

Strattam Capital, the Austin, Texas, private equity firm, agreed to buy a majority stake in Blacksmith Applications Inc, the Lawrence, Massachusetts, developer of software for the consumer-packaged-goods industry. Terms weren’t disclosed. Blacksmith said in a statement that its management will retain a “significant” stake. It didn’t specify how much. Blacksmith’s platform enables users to “better manage their contracts, more effectively deploy pricing discounts and promotional offers and gain insight into the effectiveness of their trade spend,” the company said. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is Strattam’s legal advisor. Canaccord Genuity is Blacksmith’s financial advisor and Gesmer Updegrove LLP is providing legal advice.

Press Release

Strattam Capital to Invest in Blacksmith Applications and Partner with Company Management to Accelerate Growth

Investment Will Support Growing Customer Demand and Expansion of the Product Suite

Lawrence, Mass. – April 7, 2016 – Blacksmith Applications, Inc., the leading trade spend management Software as a Service (SaaS) platform for the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Strattam Capital, a modern private equity firm with a unique engagement strategy.  Strattam will partner with Blacksmith’s management team to make an investment that will support expansion of the product suite in response to growing customer demand.  Under the terms of the definitive agreement, Strattam is purchasing a majority ownership position from existing shareholders. The company’s leadership team, led by Founder and CEO Paul Wietecha, will retain a significant ownership stake.

“Our partnership with Strattam is a terrific development for Blacksmith, our employees, and our customers, who trust our easy-to-use, scalable platform with their most critical information every day,” said Paul Wietecha, who, along with the rest of the Blacksmith management team, will remain in his current position.  “Strattam’s sector focus, collaborative approach and expertise with data-driven software models make this an ideal partnership.  Together, we will strengthen our leadership position in the food services market and expand our data analytics capabilities into other areas of the CPG industry.”

The market for trade spend management applications has expanded significantly as transaction complexity in the CPG industry has increased.  The Blacksmith platform, used by many of the world’s largest and most recognized brands, enables customers to better manage their contracts, more effectively deploy pricing discounts and promotional offers and gain insight into the effectiveness of their trade spend.  Blacksmith’s business intelligence enables organizations to plan, execute, settle and analyze pricing programs to ultimately increase their revenue and profitability.  The Blacksmith platform processes more than $4 billion in trade spend on behalf of customers every year.

According to Gartner Inc. research, CPG manufacturers spend upward of 25% of revenue on trade promotions, and the complexity of managing this spend continues to increase.  Historically, homegrown systems or spreadsheets were used to manage these trade spend decisions.  As the volume of transactions has grown, these systems have not scaled and do not adequately provide key constituents – sales, finance, marketing, IT – with insights into trends, opportunities and emerging areas of risk.  Trade promotion management is a mission critical capability for CPG companies.

“Over its 16-year history, Blacksmith has developed a unique solution for managing complex promotional transactions, making it a valued partner to its world-class customer base,” said Strattam Capital CEO Bob Morse.  “We see enormous potential in Blacksmith and are thrilled to partner with Paul and his team to expand the company’s product offerings and execute on the next phase of its growth.”

Completion of the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2016.

Canaccord Genuity is serving as Blacksmith’s financial advisor and Gesmer Updegrove LLP is serving as the company’s legal advisor.  Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is serving as Strattam’s legal advisor.