Who Bought Think3?

I have been writing about the happenings at Think3 following its recent acquisition by Versata. To help me put things into perspective a few Think3 employees have been sharing hard to find public information with me by pointing me to the web site of the Ministry of Company Affairs in India. I have tried to contact Think3 and Versata many times in the recent past but have received no response.

Then yesterday, out of the blue, I got a response from Think3. And it shocked the crap out of me. The email said that Think3 Inc. had not been directly or indirectly acquired by Versata. I called the phone number in the email and got the author on the line. The person reiterated that Versata had absolutely no share holding in Think3 Inc. So I asked the next logical question, “So who was Think3 Inc. sold to or merged with?“. The reply was, “I’m sorry. I cannot answer that question“.

This is absurd and I will tell you why. On 5th October 2010, Think3 issued a press release saying that it had “joined the family of Versata affiliated companies“. The press release was signed by Tasha Petty from Versata PR and mentioned that “Atlas Capital IB LLC. acted as financial advisor to Versata on the transaction“. This page on the Atlas Capital web site clearly states, in no uncertain terms, that Think3 was acquired by Versata. Note the words “Acquisition of Think3 by Versata“.

Common sense tells me that Atlas Capital would know what role Versata played in the Think3 acquisition because they were the ones who financially advised them. And yesterday evening Think3 goes on record to state that “Think3 had not been directly or indirectly acquired by Versata“. If Versata was not party to the Think3 acquisition then what on God’s bountiful earth was Atlas Capital financially advising them on? So if it was not Versata then who the bloody hell bought Think3?

To find out I went to think3.com and was surprised to see that investors page was empty.

A search at archive.org revealed that at one point in time, the investors page contained DCM-Doll Capital Management, New Enterprise Associates, Crosslink Capital, Norwest Venture Partners and US Venture Partners. So obviously these investors sold their stake in Think3 to someone. But who?

I searched for information related to Think3 acquisition in Google and a few US government web sites but came up with nothing. While searching I came across one of the articles written by Think3 India employees mentioning that a company called ESW Capital had acquired Think3. However, the name ESW Capital does not figure anywhere in the Think3 press release.

A Google search for ESW Capital led me to this public document at the US Securities and Exchange Commission which shows that Manager of ESW Capital LLC, Assistant Secretary of Versata Enterprises and President and CEO of Trilogy are one and the same person. Interestingly the “About Versata” section of the Think3 press releases starts with: “Founded in 1989, Trilogy established Trilogy Technology Group, a forerunner to Versata Enterprises, in 2004.” So it appears that ESW Capital, Versata Enterprises and Trilogy are all related to each other in some way.

Frankly, I don’t give a damn whether these companies are related or not and how. I just want to know who the hell bought Think3. Period.

  • I’m a former customer of CadLab (the old name of the company when it was just an italian software house dedicated to the domesitc market) so I’m still receiving their newsletter, and just a few days ago I received several emails presenting Versata as the new owner of Think3 brand.

  • Neil

    Seems like someone wants to unload Think3 liabilities. I smell fraud in the air…

  • No personal attacks please. If you have information (not confidential) that you want to share you can do that. If you wish to express your opinion you can do that as well. But please refrain from making personal attacks on individuals. It does not serve any purpose.

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  • Fabio Pensalfini

    Bingo!! Believe me..You have hit nail right on his head.
    Think3 New CEO had recently given presentation highlighting capabilities of Versata to rebuild Think3 and this public link is forwarded by one of Pesaro Italian customer.

    http://www.rallypointwebinars.com/Webinars/Think3/2010/Q4/index.htm

    • I found this webinar this morning using a Google search and listened to the CEO used the word buy and acquire a couple of times when referring to Think3.

  • Aneesandesha

    I am Anil, former employee of think3, it is trully unfortunate that we all who were trusted, loyal, honest and hard working employees got cheated by not clearing our salary dues, we should fight agianst this behav of not conforming to approved standards of social or professional behavior, We got hurted lot by this unethical appraoch of think3 management, we should not allow them to go easilly, all are big cheaters……all think3 old, present and new customers should be very carefull with the think3 management that they are not concerned about the ethical way of approach,

  • GuruSeeker

    Think3 will continue to operate as a stand-alone corporation within the Versata family of software businesses…..
    http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Think3-Inc-Has-Joined-the-Family-of-Versata-Affiliated-Software-Companies-1329419.htm

  • Kiran Kumar

    From all the above links it appears Versata is grand … or grand grand parent of think3 but not a direct parent, Versata may support think3 for its growth but it is not legally bound to take its liabilities or assets. It is the direct parent of think3 who is legally connected. Now the question is who is the direct parent of think3?

    • Kiran Kumar

      Versata could be just a major stakeholder of think3’s new owner and not the owner itself, hence not legally liable or connected. It is also possible that this new layer in the hierarchy is meant for a purpose 🙂

      • Neil

        Yes, most likely they just created a shell company and may have even back dated its formation to duck the Think3 liabilities landing on their books. Its a bit like insider trading. I wouldnt hold out much hope of getting any owed money out of them unless you go for the jugular and allege fraud.

  • Shyam

    Came across an interesting article that appeared in Italian news papers. The Think3 Italian office went on strike it seems for non payment of salaries and it was covered in La Republica news paper. The news is in Italian, but hey,alatavisa helps in translating
    http://ricerca.repubblica.it/repubblica/archivio/repubblica/2010/10/14/ingegneri-senza-stipendio-da-sei-mesi-alla.html

    Given that this is an old news, probably they have been paid off and as Think3’s major customers being in Italy, the new owner might not have been keen on antagonizing the customers there. This also says that the company that acquired Think3 is ESW Capital. So, there one gets the answer. ESW Capital acquires Think3 Inc, shuts down offices world wide in the pretext of restructuring not clearing the liabilities, sells the major asset, the product/brand to Versata which is their sister company and Think3 goes bankrupt!!! That sounds like a distinct possiblity.. Atleast the Indian, Italian employees are out in the open, and what about the rest of the geographies?

  • Kiran Kumar

    Still mystery remained unfolded… who is the direct owner of think3?
    does anyone know who acquired at the first place? and what is his relation with versata?

  • John

    Versata just bankrupted its French Gensym office to avoid paying salaries/severance even though Gensym was highly profitable and Gensym France the largest contributor of license sales (all revenue billed elsewhere of course)
    I am not very optimistic for Think3 future…

    • Shyam

      I would think so as well. The grapevine is that Think3 France office has been shut down as well.That completes the loop of the various subsidiaries of Think3.

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  • Karan

    Seems like people have lost interest in talking about the proceedings happening about think3.
    this is what it happens when the drama is dragged for a longer time….
    i feel sorry for think3 employees who are struggling to get their dues back and still hoping that there would be a silver lining for them.

    Guys move on cos neither the power of media nor the emotional attachment can get you what you really deserve.

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  • Curt Finch

    This is fascinating.  Good job on all the detective work.  PR today is around IP http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/463495