Vurv CEO Looks for a Big Year

By Gina Ruiz

Mar. 21, 2007

If CEO Derek Mercer gets his way, this could be a big year for Vurv Technology. His goals for the Jacksonville, Florida-based talent management software provider: increase revenue from $40 million to $50 million; make two more acquisitions of $20 million or more apiece; and take the company public. He recently spoke to Workforce Management staff writer Gina Ruiz at the Vurv Revolution 2007 conference in Las Vegas.

Workforce Management: Some say it’s only a matter of time before Vurv goes public. What pieces of the puzzle still need to fall into place before an IPO happens?

Derek Mercer: From an organizational point, we are already there—we have undergone some recent restructuring, we have a strong base of clients, and our balance sheet is solid. What we’re doing now is working with the board of directors to identify potential acquisition targets to build more mass.

WM: There are rumors that Peopleclick is for sale. Would you ever vie for that company?

Mercer: If they were serious about selling themselves, we would take a look at them. We are not shy about going after companies, much like the way we went after Unicru, where we put in a bid. This year we just made an acquisition and we hope to close two more by the fall.

WM: Do you have a time frame for the IPO? Is it contingent upon anything?

Mercer: We are shooting for the end of this calendar year. But we are not fixated on a specific date. What we are fixated on is making strategic acquisitions, and if that means pushing the date back, then so be it.

WM: You have entrenched Vurv into many workforce management arenas—onboarding, performance management, compensation, etc.—except for training and development. Is this a strategic area that you would get into through an acquisition?

Mercer: I’m not sure about training and development. It is a critical area in workforce management, but it is also very cyclical. It is one of the first initiatives that is eliminated when companies hit tough times. Also, that industry uses a licensing model, while we focus on subscription-based models.

WM: Would you ever forgo an IPO to sell Vurv?

Mercer: For the right price, anything is possible. But it would have to be an exceptional offer that far exceeds a multiple of three. I have already been approached and declined several offers.

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