Marshal finds its way back home

Three years after being sold, Marshal returns to New Zealand

One of New Zealand software’s success stories, Marshal Software, is coming home.

Marshal, a new company built by some of the former Marshal Software staff in New Zealand, has bought the Marshal product suite from integrated systems and security management provider NetIQ and will move support and research and development back to New Zealand.

NetIQ bought Marshal Software in 2002 for US$23 million (NZ$33 million) and moved development of the product set to the US.

Dean Curlew is one of the old Marshal Software staff that moved over to NetIQ. Today he starts his new job as the Asia–Pacific sales manager for Marshal.

“I think it is an extremely positive thing for the local area, bringing back tech support and development to New Zealand. Some of the old developers and other ex-Marshal Software staff are coming back on board,” he says.

Curlew says that while the Marshal products were already strong in New Zealand and Australia, NetIQ took them to the global market.

“It took us to areas where we had never been before and it certainly took the products to enterprise level.”

Ed Macnair, the head of worldwide sales of Marshal products at NetIQ until last week, and now CEO of Marshal, initiated the management buy out. Macnair found an investment partner in UK-based private equity firm Kelso Place Asset Management. The sale will be finalised by the end of the year; the purchase price was not disclosed.

Marshal’s corporate head office will be in Basingstoke, UK, with offices in Auckland and in Houston.

David Taylor, regional director of NetIQ Australia–New Zealand, says that the Marshal product-suite has been running very profitably for NetIQ. So why is NetIQ selling?

“On a local level I wish we were not selling, because I have really enjoyed working with the products,” says Taylor. “But the reality is that the Marshal technology does not fit into our business strategy.”

He says the constant updating that is required to combat competition in the web and email content scanning business does not align with NetIQ’s KBSA-strategy (knowledge based service assurance).

Taylor says that development of software in the US is quite expensive, whereas New Zealand is a more attractive place for development.

“Another reason for Marshal to move to New Zealand is to come back to the old development team and the core expertise.”

When NetIQ purchased Marshal Software in 2002 one of the first moves was to relocate several processing functions to the US and Europe, making some staff redundant. In June 2004 NetIQ shut down the New Zealand operation completely, with the loss of the remaining 25 jobs. All security development migrated to NetIQ’s development centre in Houston, Texas.

Auckland-based integrated software and networking solutions provider DesignerTech originally developed the email and web content scanning products now known as MailMarshal and WebMarshal. Marshal Software then broke away as a separate entity and was later on approached by NetIQ.

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