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Archiving firm to acquire litigation software vendor

E-mail archiving firm Zantaz has agreed to buy Steelpoint Technologies, a maker of litigation support software and discovery services.

Zantaz may soon be seeing more attorneys -- but for a good reason. The Pleasanton, Calif.-based e-mail archiving company has agreed to acquire Steelpoint Technologies, a Boston-based provider of litigation support software and discovery management services, for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition, expected to be announced next week, will give Zantaz a new base of users as Steelpoint has more than 130 customers worldwide, most of which are law firms and government institutions.

In an era when e-mails are evidence, this deal makes sense. "70% of our discovery requests are for e-mail," said Joe Romanowski, Steelpoint co-founder and executive vice president.

The combination of Steelpoint's litigation support software, called Introspect 5, and Zantaz' e-mail archiving service will help users store and retrieve files for legal cases. Together, the two companies plan to be a single-source provider of digital archiving, compliance, electronic discovery services and litigation support.

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With the acquisition, Zantaz -- already well known in the archiving space along with Iron Mountain Inc., KVS Inc. and others -- may be entering what some project to be a $2 billion market. "Many law firms we've talked to have been using two or three vendors to manage the data for their cases. We plan to streamline that process," said Deborah Baron, Director of Litigation Support Services at Zantaz.

Peter Gerr, analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, Milford, Mass., sees the acquisition as "two worlds colliding -- the world of archiving and the world of litigation support and recovery."

Gerr noted that Zantaz has a leg up on the competition by offering both hosted archiving services and, thanks to the recent merger with Educom, in-house archiving. With litigation support and recovery in its repertoire, Zantaz may distance itself from the pack even more.

"Zantaz has been expanding aggressively all year. So this seems like the next logical step," Gerr said. And it's a step that may help answer the next question in many IT departments. "Zantaz is great at archiving, but now they have an answer when someone asks 'what if the documents need to be presented in court?'"

Zantaz will offer the combined Zantaz/Steelpoint products as both licensed software and a hosted service and will have more than 300 employees and offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Ottawa and London.

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