MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- Known for its tax and small business software, tech giant Intuit is acquiring Digital Insight, one of the first pure Internet banking companies, for $1.35 billion.
Intuit, which offers popular financial software programs such as TurboTax, QuickBooks and Quicken, will pay $39 for each share of Digital Insight. Digital Insight shares surged 15% the day the news was announced.
With more than $2 billion in revenue in '06, Intuit is a much larger player than Digital Insight, which will see revenues of approximately $238 million this year. Digital Insight currently reaches seven million consumers and 115,000 business end users through relationships with 1,750 financial institutions. Intuit has 15 million Quicken users, seven million small business clients and helps 20 million people complete tax returns each year with its TurboTax product.
This is a very strategic deal for Intuit said Paul Rosenfeld, director, product management and marketing for Intuit. Rosenfeld said of the 22 million small and simple businesses in the U.S., approximately seven million utilize Intuit's QuickBooks or Quicken products. But the company is finding that there are many small businesses that look to online banking as a prime tool for managing their books.
"For all the bluster and great stuff online banking has done, it's still actually only performed a small amount of what a consumer or small business person needs to run their businesses," said Rosenfeld.
He stressed that Intuit doesn't want to replace QuickBooks and Quicken with online banking or simply merge them with online banking, but wants to reach those businesses that don't need or want that level of software. He believes that while Intuit has been able to convert millions of small businesses from doing their accounting with paper and pencil to one of their software products, the new paper and pencil is online banking, and those small businesses aren't being offered enough online tools to properly keep their books.
Unfortunately, said Rosenfeld, some small businesses underestimate the importance of basic business principles like managing cash flow--and he should know.
"I went out of business because I ran out of cash. That experience stays with me every day of my life. I have a wonderful opportunity to save small businesses that pain. The average small business has 10 financial relationships, having to go to 10 different Web sites."
He envisions utilizing the Digital Insight reach into some 1,800 financial institutions to broaden the scope of online banking and online tools to cater to small business needs, giving them one place online to turn to manage their books. "There are cash management tools. Cash management for a little interior design shop with $50,000 in income is about how much money they have available. And invoicing tools, knowing where money was spent," said Rosenfeld.
The Intuit marketer was chomping at the bit to reveal some of the new cash management tools it has worked on with Digital Insight over the past nine months designed specifically for online banking. He noted the announcements will come soon, but the company didn't want to water down the merger news.
Intuit sees the credit union market as one of the most fertile for reaching small and simple business owners. Simple business owners, said Rosenfeld, are "lifestyle" businesses, where the owners work out of their home, don't delegate anything, take on virtually every task of the business, and have revenue under $100,000.
"We've learned from Digital Insight that credit unions are really just getting started in the small business space. They have a great heritage of customer service. We're excited about credit unions being able to rely on a company as stable as Intuit," said Rosenfeld, noting he thinks CUs need more online banking tools geared at their business members. "The kind of tools we envision are not in the market now," he said.
He said Intuit recognizes the brand strength of Digital Insight, especially with credit unions, and the Digital Insight brand will live on in some fashion. "The average consumer doesn't know Intuit, they know Quicken, TurboTax. We can offer those brands to credit unions, so you have the local credit union's name, with powered by Quicken or powered by QuickBooks."
Digital Insight wasn't looking to merge, said Bob Meagher, executive vice president of emerging business for Digital Insight. "It wasn't that we were in the market to be acquired. We have been working closely with Intuit in the past nine months on a new innovative small business offering. In working closely, the two companies understood the synergies we could bring to the market. Culturally, we both agree it's an opportunity to change the way consumers and small businesses view online baking," said Meagher.
Digital Insight was born out of the credit union system when two former employees of credit union data processor XP Systems founded it. Paul Fiore headed up the company for years until moving on shortly after leading the company public. In its early days, Digital Insight only served credit unions, but later opened up to banks. --firstname.lastname@example.org