Automattic Acquires WooThemes

Wed, 20th May 2015, 15:53

WooCommerce is a software plugin created by WooThemes that turn a basic WordPress sites into online eCommerce platforms similar to Shopify and Bigcommerce. Not only is it hugely popular in the WordPress community, WooCommerce has become a force to be reckoned with in the online marketplace, powering at least 650,000 online stores. The basic version of the software maybe free, but WooCommerce makes money selling plugin extensions, storefront themes and support.

So an announcement posted in the WooThemes blog shared some news that seems to have caught a lot of people by surprise: “Today marks the beginning of the next exciting chapter in our journey as WooThemes. The short and sweet of it – we are joining the Automattic family!”

Mark Forrester, co-founder of WooThemes goes on to say..

In 2008, as three strangers in three countries, we set out on a quest to pioneer WordPress commercial theming, never dreaming of the rocket-propelled voyage into the self-hosted eCommerce unknown that lay ahead. It’s been an incredible ride, backed by a unique community, and here we find ourselves powering over 24% of online stores with our flagship product, WooCommerce.

Over the past year, in response to the growing and more sophisticated requirements of the WooCommerce community, we have been exploring ways to accelerate our growth to be an even more accessible, easier to use, and enabling platform for our customers. We’ve met some very powerful and influential companies and potential investors, but none more ambitious and aligned with our values than the team at Automattic.

Since late last year we’ve been talking with Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic and co-founder of WordPress, and his bridge team about what we could build together. Our plan is to leverage our combined wealth of knowledge, skills, vibrant community and joint infrastructure platform to reach new eCommerce heights.

Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg also made an announcement that the company has acquired WordPress’ popular e-commerce platform WooCommerce,.

I do believe that the web needs an open, independent and easy-to-use commerce platform that you can run yourself on your own website.

In the past few years, WooCommerce really distinguished itself in its field. Just like WordPress as a whole, it developed a robust community around its software, and its products meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

Publishing products and selling them on the web is arguably a more complex endeavor than simple publishing, especially when you factor in location, tax, payment gateways, and everything needed to process transactions.

This is another step that will help WordPress accomplish its goal of powering even more of the web. The ultimate goal is to make it as easy to create your own storefront as it currently is to create your own website or blog with WordPress.

While Matt Mullenweg remains mum on the price, he has stated the the acquisition was the largest his company had made, “by about 6x”. Various commentators are speculating Automattic will spend more than $30 million in cash and stock to buy the 55-person company.

In addition to growing the current WooCommerce customer base, Automattic is looking to use the platform to add more selling options for customers, while retaining its existing e-commerce partnerships. “Partnerships will remain in place on, but long-term we’d like to offer Woo as an option there as well,” Mullenweg said.

The acquisition should have little effect on the numerous third-party designers and developers creating add-on products and services for WooCommerce . Those who are involved in the WooCommerce ecosystem will still be able to connect and build for the platform as done previously.