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Zuora to acquire Zephr for $44M as subscription platforms consolidate

Zuora, the cloud-based software subscription platform used by the Financial Times, Guardian, Seattle Times and others, has announced its planned acquisition of Zephr, a leading subscription experience platform. The price is estimated to be in the region of $44M.

The two platforms already partner extensively across a number of publisher clients and the acquisition will see Zephr become a part of Zuora’s existing product suite sitting alongside Zuora Billing, Zuora Revenue, and Zuora Collect. Zephr employees will join Zuora to “continue advancing innovation” and underpin the combined customer base.

A spokesperson told WNIP that Zephr will “add new capabilities, such as paywalls, identity management, intelligent trials, and more, helping to deliver experiences that are personalized for every subscriber. For example, these capabilities can help determine when an anonymous user is ready for a free trial, or a long-time subscriber should receive an offer for a new bundle.”

Founded in 2018 by James Henderson and Chris Scott, Zephr launched as a subscription experience platform focused on accelerating revenue growth, with customers including News Corp, McClatchy, and Bauer.

James Henderson, CEO at London/NYC-based Zephr, says, “It was a clear decision to join Zuora to accelerate where our platform is headed, and empower all of our customers to nurture and monetize their subscriber relationships.”

Our focus has been on giving our customers the agility they need to deliver the experiences that modern customers expect – it starts from the first digital interaction, to conversion, to renewal.

James Henderson, CEO, Zephr

The acquisition comes at a time of rapid change in the sector as more companies enter and mature in the subscription economy, alongside an ever-growing list of subscription SaaS services that are ripe for consolidation – during the pandemic, PayRead, the publisher payment platform, was acquired for $41M by Boku, the mobile payments network.

“The winners in the media industry are those continuously innovating around new services, bundles, and offers. And where the media industry goes, other industries will follow,” said Tien Tzuo, CEO and Founder at Californian-headquartered Zuora. “This is what combining Zuora and Zephr is about.”