ConvergeOne, an Eagan-based IT services provider, merged with a special purpose acquisition company Friday in order to go public.
Shareholders of the Forum Merger Corp. and ConvergeOne approved the merger on Tuesday, and the deal was finalized on Friday. Under the deal, Forum changes its name to ConvergeOne Holdings Inc. and starts trading on Nasdaq under the symbol CVON.
ConvergeOne became serious about pursuing a public listing in November and decided a merger with a special purpose acquisition company would be the fastest and cheapest way to do so. ConvergeOne's plan made sense to Forum.
"Our goal was to not just find an investment, but a true partner with a strong financial profile, a time-tested business model and a platform that allows for steady, continued growth," said Marshall Kiev, co-CEO of Forum in a prepared statement.
ConvergeOne has more than 7,200 enterprise and midmarket customers who use its services to manage their data and contact centers and help them manage their cloud storage. The company also provides information technology maintenance and security services.
The company has more than 2,200 employees, with about 220 at its Eagan headquarters and another office in Golden Valley.
John McKenna Jr., chairman and CEO of ConvergeOne, said the company expects to report 2017 revenue of $924 million and will have earnings of $139 million. The total enterprise value of ConvergeOne, including the value of debt and equity, is $1.3 billion.
That makes ConvergeOne larger than the three Minnesota companies that completed IPOs in 2017 and three that have registered for public offerings this year.
About 63 percent of ConvergeOne's sales are from their unified communications business, which provides mid- to large-sized companies with software and other infrastructure to manage and run customer contact and call centers.
"We put in the infrastructure that enables mid- to large-sized companies help their employees be more productive," McKenna said. "Eighty percent of our revenue comes from Fortune 1000 companies. Customers that have very unique, complicated and challenging solutions."
The other piece of ConvergeOne's business is designing and installing software for contact centers that helps makes customers' experiences more pleasant.
"New software is being developed all the time for the customer experience/contact center world," McKenna said.
After some lean years during the recession and postrecession when companies cut back on their customer service budgets, companies are again investing in those areas.
"Nowadays, companies look to distinguish themselves from the competition by having great customer experience," McKenna said. "You certainly know that when you reach certain call centers and they do a phenomenal job."
McKenna said the firm will continue to focus on its current business plan and look to augment its organic growth with two to three acquisitions a year.
The history of ConvergeOne goes back 25 years. In June 2014, Santa Monica, Calif.-based private equity group Clearlake Capital acquired it from another private equity group. McKenna said the private equity ownership has been good for the company. When he joined the company in 2008, revenue was $300 million.
McKenna credits Clearlake's ownership and its knowledge of the unified communications industry with helping to fuel growth of ConvergeOne in last several years.
"That's been a great partnership for us," McKenna said.
And it's a relationship that will not end. After the transaction Friday, Clearlake Capital will maintain more than 50 percent ownership in ConvergeOne. Under Nasdaq listing rules, ConvergeOne will be considered a controlled company.
Clearlake was founded in 2006 with a focus on investing in software and technology-enabled services companies, industrials and energy and consumer companies. Clearlake has over $7 billion in assets under management and has led or co-led more than 100 investments.
Four Clearlake Capital directors sit on ConvergeOne's new board. Also on the board are McKenna, two members from Forum Merger Group, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and two independent directors.
ConvergeOne shares closed at $8 a share, down after an initial spike in share price.