Ottawa’s Corel acquires Seattle-based software firm Parallels

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Ottawa software maker Corel got into the Christmas shopping spirit again this week, adding new products to its stable with an acquisition for the second December in a row.

The firm said Thursday it has purchased Parallels, a Seattle-based company best-known for its software that allows Mac users to run Windows applications on their devices. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

“They are the leader in their space,” said Corel’s executive vice-president of global products, Gérard Métrailler. “We see a lot of opportunities to grow together and share in technologies in the future.”

Parallels has a far-flung global footprint, with offices in London, Moscow, Munich, Tokyo, Beijing, Singapore and Sydney, Australia as well as Switzerland, Estonia and Malta. The firm’s CEO, Jack Zubarev, said both Parallels and Corel have strong penetration in the education and graphic and web design sectors, adding both companies see areas where they can piggyback off each other to expand their market shares.

“Parallels might be stronger in certain countries throughout the world and Corel in others,” he said. “Definitely we will leverage each other’s strengths geographically.”

The two firms also share similar philosophies on e-commerce and go-to-market strategies, Métrailler said, adding Corel has been one of its new U.S. partner’s biggest evangelists. For years, he said, the Ottawa company has been suggesting its Mac customers use Parallels’ platform to run Corel applications.

“It’s the best solution there, and obviously we’re going to certainly look at making it even better in the future for those who want to do that,” Métrailler told OBJ, noting he’s a longtime fan of the U.S. company and was an early adopter of its platform.

Corel’s products, such as CorelDRAW and WinZip, fall largely into the creativity and business utilities space, but in recent years the firm has looked to expand its portfolio. Corel branched into product management with an acquisition in 2016 and hired software veteran Brad Jewett as chief financial officer the following year to lead its M&A strategy.

Corel’s latest transaction comes a little more than a year after it acquired San Francisco-based software-as-a-service firm ClearSlide. It was also Corel’s second M&A play of 2018; the firm acquired graphic design software maker Gravit Designer in June.

For now, Parallels will continue to operate out of its Seattle home base as a separate business unit within Corel, although Zubarev wouldn’t rule out a potential reorganization of the corporate structure at some point.

The firms declined to reveal their headcounts but said they don’t expect any layoffs as a result of the deal.

Asked if Corel had any more M&A activity on its radar, Métrailler said the firm plans to continue growing both organically and through acquisitions.

“I’ve learned to never say never on that question,” he said.

Serial entrepreneur Michael Cowpland founded Corel in 1985. Once one of the Ottawa’s most prominent software firms with a name that adorned the city’s NHL arena and its Carling Avenue office building, Corel has downsized in recent years.

Vector Capital – which owned Corel prior to its US$69-million IPO in 2006 – purchased the company for a second time in 2010 and privatized the local firm. Since then, Corel has undergone layoffs and restructuring, but company executives say the firm’s operating income tripled between 2012 and 2015.

– With files from Craig Lord