In part driven by the growing demand for ESG compliance solutions, i.e. Environmental, Social, and Governance, US legal software heavyweight, Mitratech, has bought Germany’s Alyne. This is also Mitratech’s third M&A deal in 2021, suggesting that it is now on an extended acquisition binge.
The company said that Alyne leverages ‘next-generation artificial intelligence to connect corporate legal and compliance functions, empowering professionals on both sides to assess, monitor, report, and act on all relative risks within the enterprise, including ESG management.’
Now that all sounds very nice, but what it is really telling us is that the demand for solutions for compliance with ESG regulations around the world is increasing. Given that it’s a very data-led operation, i.e. ‘what are the rules in jurisdiction X, and can we find the data to prove compliance or show us what we need to do?’ – then there are a lot of opportunities here for legal tech.
For example, a couple of weeks ago, the Ashurst Advance team, the innovation and NewLaw arm of international firm Ashurst, told this site: ‘ESG is a puzzle of regulations and it hits clients in different ways. It’s a big problem and they need to be able to extract operational data to be transparent.
‘ESG is top of the list for clients at the moment, and they just want us to take away the problem,’ said Tara Waters at Ashurst Advance earlier this month. And they have built their own tool to help with this.
Mike Williams, CEO of Mitratech, commented on the deal: ‘The combination of Alyne and Mitratech brings a game-changing solution to the legal, risk and compliance industry. There’s increasing overlap between legal and compliance challenges, so there’s a real need for an intelligent platform that empowers cross-disciplinary integration and oversight.
‘Organisations now have the ability to harness AI to instantly reveal and quantify risk, collaborate, increase efficiency, and create unrivalled operational resilience.’
Karl Viertel, CEO at Alyne, added: ‘This is a case of the right alignment at the right time. Adding Alyne to Mitratech’s portfolio addresses a very real and pressing need for a holistic, cloud-based operational platform that allows users to oversee all legal and compliance risk.’
And as mentioned, Mitratech, appears to be on an M&A binge at the moment. In May it bought AdvanceLaw, which helps inhouse teams to manage their law firm panels, and earlier in the year it bought INSZoom, a provider of immigration case management solutions. The moves coincide with a major investment from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board.
Is this a big deal? Alyne is not a huge company, with less than 100 staff. So the real question is what comes next?
Mitratech has plenty of cash behind it, so we should likely expect more deals to come, especially around anything related to compliance. If it has cash to do three M&A deals in less than a year, then it likely has several more deals planned.
But, going back to the new acquisition, one has to hope that ESG compliance doesn’t just become another ‘tick box’ exercise, where companies can ‘prove’ they are compliant, yet with little real change taking place. I.e. is ESG just going to be another virtue signalling exercise for corporates, or will it result in tangible changes? Let’s hope it makes a difference.