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Appian: Here's How the Software Company Thinks About Acquisitions

By Jeremy Bowman and Nicholas Rossolillo – Oct 30, 2021 at 2:00PM

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Here's the one thing the company looks for in potential acquisitions.

There are a lot of different reasons companies acquire businesses, but Appian (APPN 5.13%) CEO Matt Calkins says his company makes acquisitions for technology. 

In this segment of "Beat & Raise," recorded on Oct. 8, Fool contributors Jeremy Bowman and Nicholas Rossolillo discuss that acquisition strategy and why it could give the company a long-term edge.

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Jeremy Bowman: About that, the 99% retention figure, actually I asked Matt why he thinks that isn't, his answer was pretty simply is just our technology is top of the line. He thinks they have the best product out there, and I think that the retention figure backs that up. CEOs are a little different. I think Matt, he's a technologist at heart, and he's in it. I think that's what he's passionate about. The Lana Labs acquisition, too, we were talking about that, and he was like, "We don't acquire to impress the market or to pad our numbers, that sort of thing." He's like, "We bought them for the technology." That makes a lot of sense, and I feel like you don't really hear that justification that much, at least in the media when talking about the acquisitions. There's usually more of a business case being made, but it's a smart move to buy it for the underlying technology.

Nick Rossolillo: Yeah. Absolutely. Some CEOs can get blustery about why they made such and such acquisition. On this front, at least, Appian's been pretty conservative. Both acquisitions that they've made, the RPA purchase, the software Box purchase last year was very, very small, very tiny company. Lana Labs is like that, too. Usually when in the headline when it says Appian has made this acquisition, the terms are undisclosed. We're talking pretty small acquisition, maybe a few million dollars, couple of tens of millions of dollars at the most, when it's undisclosed terms like that. The company can afford to do that. Go out and pick up neat technology that's going to easily fold into their platform they've already built.

Bowman: Yeah, it helps to make those future bolt-on acquisitions pretty seamless.

Nicholas Rossolillo owns shares of Appian. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Appian. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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