Citrix Online Acquires Netviewer to Expand European Market Presence

Citrix Online, a services division of Citrix Systems, will acquire a German company that provides similar remote management and collaboration tools and has a strong European market position.

Eyeing huge growth opportunities in the European software-as-a-service market, Citrix Online will acquire German SAAS provider Netviewer, said parent company Citrix Systems on Dec. 17.

The transaction is expected to close in early 2011. Citrix will purchase all the shares of the privately held company, but financial terms were not disclosed. Netviewer currently has 220 employees, but Citrix officials didn't say whether it would retain all of them after the acquisition closes.

Netviewer will be integrated into Citrix Online, the online services division of Citrix Systems, the company said. Robert Gratzl, Netviewer's CFO and board spokesperson, will be appointed as the vice president and general manager for Citrix Online in EMEA, Citrix said.

"Customers want us to be virtually everywhere," Mike Mansbach, vice president and general manager of sales and client services at Citrix Online, told eWEEK. The collaboration market around the world is growing faster than before, and various regions are picking up collaboration tools as the population "comes online," he said.

The Netviewer deal positions Citrix Online to be ready in Europe "just as demand surges," it said.

Citrix Online needed a "strong" partner, someone who was the market leader and had "broad credibility" in the market, said Mansbach. Netviewer has about 18,000 customers, including Bayer, SAP, Siemens and BMW. Netviewer also has a broad European presence, with customers in 68 countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Austria, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.

The acquisition gives Citrix Online the boost it needed to compete in Europe. Netviewer's strong market position in Germany was particularly attractive, as the German market, second only to the United Kingdom, is large, said Mansbach.

Netviewer's Karlsruhe, Germany, office will be an "important center for Citrix Online's operations in the region," Citrix said.

"We believe there is even more opportunity ahead as the global market matures and customers look for a strong, experienced partner," said Brett Caine, senior vice president of the online services division at Citrix.

Citrix Online and Netviewer have a number of significant overlaps in their product lines. Citrix has the "GoTo" series for remote meeting, management, monitoring and collaboration capabilities, including GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToManage, GoToMyPC and GoToTraining. GoToMyPC supports remote monitoring, and GoToMeeting is a Web conferencing service. Netviewer has an online meeting tool, NetviewerMeet; an online help desk, NetviewerSupport; a remote maintenance tool, NetviewerAdmin; and a Webinar application, Netviewer Webinar.

"Historically, Citrix Online competed with Netviewer for business," said Mansbach.

Mansbach declined to discuss what will become of the Netviewer brand or product lineup after the acquisition closes. Citrix will evaluate all the products and evaluate "which products we do best" and what the customers want before the company decides what to do with the brand and the product portfolio, said Mansbach. "We've got a lot more to do," he said. Mansbach said the acquisition will "complement" Citrix Online, but he declined to elaborate.

The Netviewer acquisition will combine two "complementary" market leaders with a "shared vision for virtual work styles, innovation" and customer experience, said Citrix. Both companies are customer-centric and sensitive to customer needs, as well as emphasizing a "philosophy of innovation," said Mansbach.

"Our customers will benefit enormously from our combined resources through greater innovation and faster time to market," said Netviewer's Gratzl.