Wolters Kluwer Buys Legisway in Contract Management Push

Wolters Kluwer has bought Legisway, a leading French contract management company, for an undisclosed sum. The deal appears to be aimed at increasing the legal information and software company’s share of the European legal tech market, especially among corporate lawyers.

Legisway is a well-developed solution for contract lifecycle management that covers a wide range of use cases (see graphic below) and has operated since around 1996. But, that is not perhaps the most interesting factor here.

What is more significant in the longer term is the mention by Legisway, prior to the takeover, that: ‘The company serves primarily French companies with the aspiration and plan to expand into new geographies.’

I.e. the deal with the €4.4bn Wolters Kluwer, which has offices and clients all over the world, is potentially a massive springboard for the French company to expand into new markets across the continent, and perhaps also into the US and UK one day in the future.

Legisway said that pre-merger its customer base consisted of almost 300 accounts and 55,000 users, with around 50 employees based near Paris. That is clearly set to grow now.

Conversely, it’s also another sign of how the big legal publisher-tech companies are more than willing to buy up a solution to add to their portfolio of applications when it meets their strategic needs as a company.

It also shows that Wolters Kluwer is increasingly serious about getting into market areas well beyond its core provision of data and knowledge.

What Legisway currently covers.
For its part, Wolters Kluwer’s Legal & Regulatory division noted that it already offers cloud-based workflow and practice management solutions to law firms and to corporate legal departments, but added that the Legisway platform is complementary to Wolter Kluwers’ effacts ‘dashboard’ product for inhouse counsel – which it also gained via an acquisition, back in July 2015.
What this suggests is that the competition between the big legal data publishers that also sell legal tech software, which we can roughly see as, Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis, Bloomberg Law and of course, Wolters Kluwer, shows no sign of abating. In fact, arguably the battle for market share is heating up, even as a mass of tech startups pioneer new niches across the legal sector.

Each of these big providers is continually building out their offering of legal tech tools, and/or forming alliances and partnerships with third party vendors such as legal AI companies in some cases.

Jérôme Teissier, Legisway’sFounder and CEO, said of the deal: ‘We’re excited by the opportunity to join Wolters Kluwer. [Its] global footprint and commitment to product innovation will enable us to continue to enhance the Legisway platform and serve new customers throughout Europe.’

Jesus Diaz, Managing Director, Softwares, Wolters Kluwer France, added: ‘With both Legisway and effacts in our portfolio, we are now extremely well-positioned to support the on-going digitization of corporate legal departments.’

Also, check out the video below about Homo Contractus by Legisway, it’s hilarious….and also very perceptive….i.e. we’ve always lived in a world of contracts, even when we were negotiating about mammoth hunting.