Remember Redknee Solutions?
It was one of several impressive entrepreneur-led telecom software firms that emerged and blossomed in the early 2000s. Led by founder Lucas Skoczkowski, the firm found a niche in the global billing software market, grew explosively, went public on the TSX and worked ferociously in pursuit of sustained growth. In an industry of global giants, the Canadian firm was gutsy and fearless.
In late 2012 Redknee announced it had won the bid to acquire the BSS (Business Support Systems) assets of Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), a business several times the size of Redknee, bringing significant revenues, complementary technologies and Tier 1 customers to the company. It was an audacious move though one that brought many challenges. Extricating and keeping contracts and customers from the NSN mothership would be tricky. Furthermore, rightsizing a geographically dispersed, highly unionized European concern would also not be easy nor would integrating NSN’s somewhat bureaucratic culture into Redknee’s. While it was hoped the acquisition would propel the company to new heights, shareholders would be watching closely. The margin of error was small.
In the end, the firm was not able to navigate the ensuing integration while concurrently positioning the firm for growth….at least not in the timeframe given. As a result, in 2017 control of Redknee was sold to US-based private equity firm ESW (who beat out Constellation Software in a last-minute bid). The firm was rebranded Optiva, an ESW executive was appointed CEO, and shareholders were assured that sunny days were ahead..
Attached is an account of what has transpired since and the current state of this once laudable Canadian technology firm. Thanks to MB for forwarding the article. Be forewarned… it isn’t pretty.
About the Author
Robert Hebert is the founder and Managing Partner of StoneWood Group Inc., a leading executive search firm in Canada. Since 1981, he has helped firms across a wide range of sectors address their senior recruiting, assessment and leadership development requirements.
Contact Robert by email at [email protected] or call (1) 416-365-9494 Ext. 777