The other Merrill: how Datasite’s virtual world is taking over
With offices deserted across the world as coronavirus takes its toll, a virtual dataroom and online M&A software service company may be more relevant than ever
When Ken and Lorraine Merrill started a typesetting business in 1968 from their house in St Paul, Minnesota, they would have struggled to predict where it might end up. In 2019 the software built by the 750 employees of Merrill Corporation, which last month changed its name to Datasite, helped make 10,000 mergers and acquisitions happen.
The rebrand sees the whole company adopt the name of a platform that has grown to be at the heart of the business: a virtual dataroom, due diligence, connectivity and analysis suite that is used by every one of the top 25 investment banks, as well as thousands of corporates, and which supports a vast array of deals around the world.
It’s a world away from Merrill’s original typesetting business. It did well at that, growing to be one of the largest specialized financial printers in the world. But printing was already on the wane even before Covid-19 emptied offices around the world. Merrill sold the last of its printing assets in 2018. Founder Ken Merrill died in 2019 aged 100.
Datasite had grown too big for its most recent St Paul headquarters. In 2019 it announced it would finally move to the other Twin City, Minneapolis.