eMoney Advisor just got acquired again.
The 15-year-old Conshohocken-based company, which makes software for financial advisors, got acquired by Commerce Bancorp in 2006. When Commerce Bancorp got acquired by TD Bank the following year, TD didn’t want to be in the technology business, as eMoney CEO Edmond Walters puts it. So Walters raised money from investors like Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (also an eMoney client) to buy it back.
eMoney’s second acquisition, by Boston-based Fidelity Investments, the second biggest mutual fund company in the country (behind Valley Forge, Pa.-based Vanguard), was announced today. Terms were not disclosed, but the Inquirer reported that the sale was for more than $250 million.
Walters will continue to run the company, which will operate independently. All 275 employees (that’s 225 in Conshohocken and 50 in the one-and-a-half-year-old La Jolla, Calif., office) will remain in their respective offices. (That’s up from 200 employees 18 months ago.) That was a big selling point for Walters, 54, of Villanova.
“I didn’t want to close the thing down and move. That would’ve been horrible,” said Walters, who grew up in Villanova and said he was in “no hurry” to leave.
The sale was also prompted by his investors — local angels who helped the company get off the ground, and later investors like Guardian. Some of them wanted to see if there was an opportunity to liquidate, Walters said.
It was also the right time because eMoney, which launched an updated version of its platform in December, is looking to expand internationally and a company with a big footprint like Fidelity can help with that. Currently, eMoney’s software tracks more than $1.4 trillion in client assets, the company said.
Forty companies were interested in acquiring eMoney, Walters said, which led to a tedious, six-month process of winnowing the list down to one. Though Fidelity was an easy choice, in part because it’s privately held, Walters said.
“Publicly held companies in our industry are living quarter to quarter,” he said. “They’re trying to make Wall Street happy.”
With Fidelity, it’s about trying to make the consumer happy, he said.
Fidelity is following the lead of other larger firms who have acquired companies that build and sell financial portfolio software, according to Investment News.
SS&C Technologies Holdings Inc. is reportedly exploring a bid for Advent Software, maker of widely used portfolio-management software. Morningstar Inc. took control of ByAllAccounts Inc., which aggregates account information from a host of firms, last year. And Envestnet Inc. acquired portfolio management software Tamarac in 2012.
eMoney has ambitious hiring plans, post-acquisition, Walters said. He plans to target the local universities “more aggressively.”
“We’re growing very fast but Philadelphia is the place for us,” he said.
The region has a quietly thriving financial industry-focused tech scene, with other startups like Chaikin Analytics and Gladstone Analytics — and, of course, the thousands of Vanguard employees at the company’s Valley Forge HQ.
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