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DocuSign chief says company is focused on growing as a public entity




DocuSign chief says company is focused on growing as a public entity

The DocuSign website is seen on a laptop in Dobbs Ferry, New York, April 1, 2021.

Tiffany Hagler-Geard | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Contract management platform DocuSign is committed to growing as a publicly traded company and working to convince investors of its potential in artificial intelligence, CEO Allan Thygesen told CNBC, after reports suggested the company had been targeted by takeover interests from private equity suitors .

“We are focused on building a great, independent public company,” Thygesen told CNBC in an interview earlier this week at a partner event the company held in London. “I joined DocuSign as a publicly traded company. It’s a very exciting time right now, so that’s our plan.”

DocuSign, a popular service that lets users sign contracts digitally, was rumored to be surrounded by suitors Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman, according to reports from Reuters and Bloomberg earlier this year, citing people familiar with the matter.

Reuters and Bloomberg both reported that the PE firms were dueling with each other buy DocuSign for almost $13 billion. According to a February Reuters report, Bain Capital and Hellman & Freshman dropped their pursuit of DocuSign due to disagreements over how much to pay to buy the company.

CNBC has not been able to independently verify the reports.

Thygesen said he “cannot comment on anything that may or may not have happened in the past” when asked by CNBC if he could confirm rumors about PE buyers’ past interest in DocuSign.

Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman were unavailable for comment when contacted by CNBC.

Thygesen added that DocuSign would not rule out the prospect of an M&A transaction in the future, telling CNBC: “If something happens in the future, of course you can never close the door on any transaction. “

However, he emphasized: “We’re very focused on building a great, independent company. We feel like we have tremendous opportunity, so that’s what we’re doing.”

In February, DocuSign announced plans to restructure the company, including a decision to lay off 6% of its global workforce, with the bulk of the layoffs affecting sales and marketing functions.

The company said it expects a hit of $28 million to $32 million as a result of the restructuring plan, which consists primarily of cash expenses for employee transitions, notice periods and severance payments, as well as non-cash expenses related to stock vesting based rewards. .

DocuSign CEO: We are excited about our journey as an independent publicly traded company

At the time, DocuSign said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it was taking these restructuring actions to “achieve its multi-year growth ambitions as an independent publicly traded company.”

AI will have a ‘profound’ impact

DocuSign is trying to convince investors of an AI-driven future for the company, after making several notable announcements this year of products powered by the technology, as well as a deal to buy Lexion, an AI-based contract management product, for $165 million in cash.

In addition, Thygesen has completely rebranded the company, changing the logo and updating the corporate brand.

He also announced a new DocuSign product focus called “Intelligent Agreement Management” or IAM. IAM is a more automated version of DocuSign’s Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) process, which covers the journey of a contract from pre-signing activities to post-signing management.

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“I think more than anything we’ve convinced investors that adults are in charge, that they’re ahead of the plan, that we’ve stabilized things, and now they want to see how we do with these new things,” Thygesen said.

“So we’re going to do that and when we do that, we have a very exciting opportunity for shareholders, for customers, for employees, for everyone,” he added.

Thygesen said he expects AI to have a “very profound” impact “across all industries, across all functions and at all sizes.”

“I feel privileged to be part of that in a company that I think is extremely well positioned to benefit from that,” said Thygesen. But he added: “Even if I wasn’t, I would look for the impact this has on the business, no matter what business I was running.”