Light Reading’s SPIT-meister, Ray Le Maistre, reports that Volubill is about to be acquired. We at BillingViews have suspected for some time that the policy and charging specialist would be acquired – the who and when eluded us. But if Ray says it’s happening you can bet on it – the question is who is the mystery buyer?
If current trends are any indication it will be someone that has a gap in its portfolio that Volubill neatly fills. Its strengths lie in policy management and charging, neatly fitting into what is known as PCRF (Policy and Charging Rules Function) segment. Volubill was one of the pioneers in this section and was particularly successful in providing PCRF as an adjunct to existing systems, especially in the Tier 2 and 3 operators.
Although the company has declined to confirm or deny the speculation it would certainly be an opportune time for both seller and buyer in this consolidating market. Volubill has a solid track record and has big name accounts like Orange, to boot. Its products are operating in about 70 operators in 40 countries, about 25 of which are PCRF deployments.
Light Reading reports that Volubill has raised about €35 million from its VC backers over the years. It experienced a strong increase in sales from 2008 to 2010, but the market slowdown in recent years, particularly in Europe, and increasing competition from larger vendors is believed to have hit the company’s growth. Annual revenues are believed to have stalled at around the respectable €25 million mark.
The affable Australian, John Aalbers, who is also no slouch at marketing, leads the company. At every event Volubill has exhibited you could guarantee copious supplies of Victoria Bitter beer, sometimes flown in specially from Australia. Aalbers convinced many that the VB on the label actually stood for Volu-Bill and after drinking a few of them many believed him. VB will be the likely choice for toasts when the ‘alleged’ deal is done.
Not everyone employed by the ‘mystery buyer’ might know the identity of the buyer. Indeed, they might be asking themselves ‘Who are we?’