Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Silver Lake Sumeru Invests in Financial Software Firm BlackLine Systems

Silver Lake Sumeru, the middle-market investment group of the private equity firm Silver Lake, said today that it will lead a group in a strategic investment in BlackLine Systems, a Los Angeles-based financial software firm.

Terms were not disclosed, but sources familiar with the terms of the deal peg the investment at north of $200 million. Silver Lake Sumeru will be the majority shareholder; other investors include Iconiq Capital, a multifamily office for a group of wealthy individuals, and BlackLine’s existing management. Therese Tucker, the founding CEO, will continue to run the company, and will maintain a “significant” equity stake.

The investment is intended to help the company boost its international growth. The deal was led by Hollie Moore Haynes, Silver Lake Sumeru’s managing director. She will join BlackLine’s board of directors, as will Will Griffith of Iconiq.

BlackLine specializes in cloud-based software for managing financial-close processes. Usually, closing out big transactions is an old-school process that involves a lot of work in spreadsheets, and a lot of paper. BlackLine Financial Close Suite automates the process, and creates a trail that’s easy to track in an audit. The company’s list of 700 customers includes AT&T, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and United Airlines. Sales have grown by an average of 50 percent a year since 2006, and are up 55 percent in the first half of this year.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik