by Michael J. Shapiro | February 21, 2014
Active Network Business Solutions Group, which acquired StarCite three years ago, has broken off from its parent company, Active Network, to merge with hotel technology provider Lanyon. The combined company will operate under the name Lanyon. "Active Network has recognized a significant market opportunity within the event technology space," said Active Network CEO Darko Dejanovic in a statement. "We believe that as an independent entity focused singularly on the meetings and events space, the Active Network Business Solutions Group and Smart Events Cloud Solution, in combination with Lanyon technology, will provide customers with an even broader and more powerful solution offering." The combined company offers a suite of tools for corporate buyers, including meetings and events management and hotel spend reporting. By bringing in the transient hotel data in which Lanyon specializes, the new company plans to provide a more holistic view of all hotel spend throughout an organization. Suppliers will be able to access all of the data related to a given client in one location, whether it is related to transient or group spend.
"The Lanyon suite is designed to make the meeting planner's life easier and give procurement and marketing the data they crave to make more informed decisions," added JR Sherman, formerly senior vice president with Active Business Solutions and now president and chief revenue officer at Lanyon. "Hotels and meeting venues are now able to access a broader audience of planners and buyers, from the smallest businesses to the largest enterprises across multiple verticals."

The private equity firm Vista Equity Partners owns both Active Network and Lanyon. Active was acquired this past October, following Lanyon's acquisition in January 2013. In an interview, Sherman pointed out that while there was a lot of growth potential for both Active's consumer business (which supports organizers of events such as races) and the Business Solutions unit (which focuses on corporate meetings and events and offers enterprise software), the two groups were really very different. "It's hard to say what was in Vista's mind from the get-go," he said, "but I think it was a very obvious opportunity to split these and allow them both to focus completely on efficiency and growth within their respective core competencies." Active Business Solutions and Lanyon, he added, were really much better aligned.

Lanyon transient management will become a suite of tools within the Smart Events cloud that Active debuted in October, becoming another option on the platform that already includes an event management suite and a spend management suite. The name "StarCite" isn't officially in use anymore; the former StarCite Marketplace is now the Active Marketplace, and that name likely will change again in the near future.

According to Lanyon's former CEO, Kenny Cobern, Vista is retaining the entire management group from each of the previous businesses. Coburn assumes the role of COO of the new Lanyon. Anthony Miller, formerly vice president with Active Business Solutions, is now senior vice president of strategy and product management of the new Lanyon. There are no targeted layoffs as a result of the merger, according to Sherman. In fact, the company now is hiring for a number of new positions. The headquarters location will soon be determined, Sherman added. Active Network is based in San Diego, while Lanyon has been based in Irving, Texas.