Corel Acquired for Over $1 Billion

Posted on July 2, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Windows with 20 Comments

Techcrunch is reporting that Corel has been acquired by private equity giant KKR for over $1 billion. The publication cites multiple sources and states that the acquisition has been confirmed.

“We now have a copy of the memo provided by an internal source that has been sent out to staff announcing that the deal has indeed closed, and that Corel is now officially part of the KKR family of companies,” Techcrunch claims. “KKR is very optimistic about Corel’s prospects. It plans to give Corel an ‘infusion of capital’ to accelerate its growth, which will go into two areas, … expanding operations for the existing business [and] making acquisitions.”

Most famous for its CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, Corel owns a surprisingly vast range of software assets that also includes WordPerfect, WinZip, PaintShop Pro, and many others. Corel in December confirmed that it had acquired virtualization pioneer Parallels for an undisclosed sum.

Corel’s previous primary owner, Vector, has described the privately-held firm as “highly profitable,” and the firm is known to have “millions” of customers. Unlike many of its contemporaries from the 1980s, Corel has also succeeded simply by surviving. It was once positioned as the primary office productivity alternative to Microsoft Office.

The deal is likely a rich one for Vector. The firm initially paid $124 million for Corel and then paid $30 million to take it private in 2010.

Expect an official announcement on Wednesday.

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Comments (20)

20 responses to “Corel Acquired for Over $1 Billion”

  1. frank_costanza

    Corel's product line feels like a hodgepodge of second-rate apps with no clear vision.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to frank_costanza:

      As is shown by the contents of their "WordPerfect Office X9 - Professional Edition" which includes products from the old WordPerfect, Borland, Ansa and Corel shops:

      WordPerfect word processor

      Quattro Pro® spreadsheet program

      Presentations™ slideshow creator

      WordPerfect Lightning™ digital notebook

      eBook Publisher

      Paradox database management system

      Corel ScreenCap

      Roxio Secure Burn

      AfterShot 3 photo-editing and management

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to frank_costanza:

      Which is because they bought up a hodgepodge of second-rate apps whilst lacking any vision.

      Corel has made me sad for about 20 years. They were a contender once! Then they became less than an also-ran. They just turned into essentially an equity firm for shareware.

  2. jchampeau

    Reading the list of software assets Corel owns was a nice trip down memory lane.

  3. BeckoningEagle

    Best feature ever:

    reveal codes

  4. datameister

    It's funny. Almost every application Corel has purchased was something I used while it was still an upstart before moving on to something better. Is that Corel's strategy? Wait for an app to get rejected by the majority then buy it up for the small group of loyal fans still sticking around?

    So far they haven't changed the overall success of a single application, so I'm assuming that isn't their goal.

  5. Brazbit

    We would like to welcome the reemergence of Amalgamated Hay from the dusty annals of history and wish the once leading provider of hay for equine powered transportation systems well in their quest to provide rocket fuel for this new era of commercialized space exploration.

    In other news Print Shop Pro and Deluxe Paint are projected to be big news in 2022!

  6. mefree

    Wow, another massive overbuy.

  7. dallasnorth40

    WordPerfect was amazing in the late 80's.

  8. Aaron44126

    I used to love a number of these apps. WordPerfect (standalone/Novell), Paint Shop Pro (Jasc), and WinZip (standalone) were must-haves for me back in the day. (Before Corel bought them and ruined them :-)

    Seriously. WordPerfect has undergone almost no changes since Corel purchased it from what I can tell, adding only minor features here and there, it has been pretty much the same program since version 9 or so. Paint Shop Pro and WinZip have only had "bloat" added under Corel, becoming huge bulky apps compared to the nice lean apps they were for the jobs that they did before Corel took over. Once I realized that they were going to continue charging for upgrades every year that add basically nothing that I care about, I dropped them all for alternatives.

  9. redbreva

    Not given CorelDRAW a thought in years... Remember when rendering the "Snowbarn" scene was a major graphics benchmark?

    It used to be timed in 10's of seconds, but pretty much stopped being used when it got down to under 1 second ??

    I was trying to explain it to my son and tried to search for it, but can't seem to find it anywhere... Does anyone have a copy of that image now - either as a static image or as a vector file?

  10. locust infested orchard inc

    Quote by Paul Thurrott, "Unlike many of its contemporaries from the 1980s, Corel has also succeeded simply by surviving."

    Similar to the financial woes of Apple in August 1997, Corel too was hovering on the brink of bankruptcy at the turn of the century, and both companies survival till today, profitability, and much-loved products globally are entirely due to the one and only knight in shining armour – who else, but Microsoft.

    Bill Gates invested $150 million in Apple, 90 days before Apple was sunk, according to the late Steve Jobs.

    In October 2000, Microsoft announced a joint-development and marketing alliance, which included a $135 million Microsoft investment in Corel.

    At this time Corel was a fierce adversary of Microsoft, having a powerful and much loved word-processor from the days of DOS, named WordPerfect, and its own Linux distro, Corel Linux. With 'the year of Linux' always seemingly around the corner by those who despised Microsoft and its anticompetitive practices, the rescue of Corel from the financial doldrums should only be seen as charitable by Microsoft, rather than displaying solely for the DoJ in which Microsoft was in the thick of its antitrust case.

    Corel's success, as is Apple's, is due in part to Microsoft rescuing its financially frail and wounded competitors, rather than "simply by surviving" as suggested by Paul.

    I for one hope this deal secures Corel's long-term future, with software applications including CorelDRAW, PaintShop Pro, and MindManager that I use/have used regularly.

    • skane2600

      In reply to locust infested orchard inc:

      'WordPerfect was already very much on the ropes when Corel bought them. IMO Corel Draw is the only first-class product owned by Corel.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to skane2600:

        And very much by their own hands by a mix of management horrible choices.

        They bet on OS|2 and bet against Windows. They didn't get a Windows version of WordPerfect out until two years after Word for Windows and had a first version that was almost unusable for more than a few minutes without crashing. Even then they refused to use either the standard Windows keys or Windows printer drivers.

        They set up the SSI/WordPerfect as a private corporation with no stock options and had only three layers of employees: Executives (Bruce Bastion, Allen Ashton and Pete Peterson who also owned 49%/49%/2% of the company respectively), managers and employees. Because of that no employees could get promotions without going into management, no managers could ever get promotions and nobody got stock. Add to that their insistence on staying in Utah which basically meant recruiting only from Brigham Young University whose best CompSci graduates were already going to Seattle or Silicon Valley.

        • skane2600

          In reply to MikeGalos:

          I recall that WordPerfect's leadership claimed that Microsoft had "fooled" them into developing for OS/2 instead of Windows. But year or two earlier I read an interview with the CEO saying that although customers were asking for a Windows version, they didn't want to do it.

          You were right about the usability problems on Windows. The company I worked for at the time was an early adopter of WordPerfect for Windows and I crashed it in the first 10 min of use.

          I think they were so proud of their pre-Windows printer drivers they couldn't let go of them. I recall in the DOS versions of WordPerfect it was always "guess how big the Large font is going to be for this printer". TrueType changed everything and combined with ink-jet printers, brought down the investment for desktop publishing dramatically.

          • MikeGalos

            In reply to skane2600:

            I recall their comment and they were given straight and factual information and made the wrong choice. I know more but it's still (and likely always will be) under NDA unless the people involved tell the story themselves.

  11. RickEveleigh

    I started in IT (by accident of course) in 1988: you were either WordStar or WordPerfect. I was WordStar (with StarJet for making pretty docs). WordStar 1 for Windows was pants though -- that's when I switched to Word 1.1 for Windows.