Blackbaud, Convio merger on hold
When Blackbaud CEO Marc Chardon announced plans on Jan. 17 to acquire Convio, a Texas competitor in the nonprofit software market, he said he expected the $275 million deal to close within the first quarter.
Blackbaud has since withdrawn its premerger notification form twice and postponed the expiration date of its offer to Convio three times. Analysts and customers have called in to express their concern. A joke Twitter account, @conbaud, even chimed in before going silent recently. And now it’s April.
The primary hold-up is the ongoing U.S. Department of Justice antitrust review. Federal regulators want to make sure the combination of the companies won’t amount to a customer gouge.
All of which begs the question: When is this merger actually going to happen?
The short answer is no one, except maybe the DOJ, knows.
“We’re happy with the progress and we’re working very collaboratively with them,” Melanie Mathos, a Blackbaud spokeswoman, said Friday, echoing statements dating back to February.
The next offer expiration date is Wednesday, and Mathos declined to speculate as to what would happen then or by Sept. 30 when the overall offer period ends. She said company leadership wants to avoid a more involved formal and time-consuming Justice review “at all costs.”
“We don’t want to leave the community waiting,” Mathos said. “No one wants to see the deal stretch on and on.”
The merger in limbo is likely to be a hot topic at the Association of Fundraising Professionals conference in Vancouver this week — Convio is one of the sponsors — and at the Nonprofit Technology Conference begins in San Francisco on Wednesday. But Mathos, even as she plans to travel to the famously foggy Bay Area, sees the sunny side of the situation.
“Any time we can get in front of our customers and hear about the trends and hear feedback from our clients, we’re elated,” she said.
Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906 and follow him on Twitter at @kearney_brendan.