We buy Good vertical market software companies. Now and again, we buy an Exceptional company.
The Exceptional businesses we buy represent a lifetime of effort and talent, and they share three traits that we believe make them Exceptional:
Whether they are selling for reasons of health, estate planning, or a burgeoning interest elsewhere, vendors share one other trait: The desire to have their businesses continue to operate in accordance with the history and values that made them Exceptional in the first place.
Contour Software and its parent company, Constellation Software (CSI) recognize the value of these rare companies, and following an acquisition, we leave them to continue their Exceptional operations as they have in the past.
Exceptional vertical market software companies are exceedingly rare; Good ones, happily, are more common. The Good companies we acquire are generally the first or second-ranked players in their verticals and are working to establish a solid track record of growth and earnings.
When we buy a Good company, we identify and address the reasons they have not yet become an Exceptional company. To this end, we offer coaching and resources in a number of areas including establishing values and capital allocation processes, profit-sharing programs, benchmarking against our other businesses, the chance to share best practices with other CSI companies, formal management training and ongoing mentoring.
We will not take over the day-to-day management of its businesses. We continue to rely on the managers and employees of our subsidiaries to run their businesses well. Managers who are excited at the prospect of creating an Exceptional company and who are willing to embrace new ideas tend to flourish at Contour/CSI.