Vision Critical Said to Weigh Unit Sale Ahead of IPO

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Vision Critical Communications Inc. is weighing the sale of its consulting business ahead of a possible initial public offering by the Canadian marketing software firm, according to people familiar with the process.

Selling the unit would make Vision Critical a pure-play cloud software company that might prove more attractive to investors if it went public, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

The price of the unit would likely be about C$50 million ($38 million), the people said. Marketing consulting companies or private equity firms would be potential acquirers, one of the people said.

Vision Critical sells software that helps companies build online communities of customers that can give feedback on new products and approaches. Its “insight communities” have more than 5 million members worldwide and are used by companies including NASCAR and Banana Republic LLC.

The company, based in Vancouver, had more than C$100 million in revenue in 2014. Chief Executive Officer Scott Miller has said going public is among options that also include raising more private funding or an outright sale.

Andrew Reid, founder and chief product officer, declined to comment on the potential for a sale or public offering. The company runs its cloud software and market research service businesses separately, and has had acquisition interest in both parts of the company, he said.

“There is nothing to comment on or announce,” he said in an e-mail Friday, adding the two businesses are “highly collaborative.”

“No doubt these expressions of interest will continue as they both get more and more valuable every day,” Reid said.