Bigger Fish

Posted On Feb 14 2007 by

My five-year-old son Eli is going through an intense Star Wars phase. Somewhat reluctantly, we let him watch The Phantom Menace the other night (not reluctantly for PG content, but because it is such an awful movie). Nevertheless, there was one good line in which the Jedis’ underwater ship is grabbed by a sea creature. Another creature grabs that one, biting it in half, and saving the Jedis (what is the plural of Jedi?). Liam Neeson comments, “There’s always a bigger fish.” This is true, but it is also why I always find it interesting when a seemingly smaller fish comes out on top.

Though Cambridge Information Group is a big outfit, CSA is much smaller than ProQuestIL. At Midwinter, mum was the word in the CSA andProQuest booths about the impending merger of CIG’s CSA and ProQuest’s Information and Learning division. A little thing called “Hart-Scott-Rodino” (anti-trust rules) had everyone justifiably silent on the workings of the merger.

Well this week, CIG closed the transaction and has officially acquired ProQuest Information and Learning. The new privately held company will be known as ProQuestCSA. Marty Kahn (formerly of OneSource and Ovid) joins ProQuestCSA as the new CEO. Matt Dunie, president of CSA, will serve as president for the newly combined operation, which will maintain offices in both Ann Arbor and Bethesda.

“ProQuest and CSA are important brands to serious researchers and the librarians who serve them. Our process for integrating these two great companies respects that importance and involves the best minds from each of the companies, advice from both our customers and our content providers, and consideration for the tremendous potential of all the elements of ProQuestCSA. This new company’s impact extends well beyond access to billions of pages of content. As essential as that access is, with the technology and talent available through Serials Solutions and COS [Community of Science], we’ll provide sophisticated tools that allow researchers to use that content in ways that take their work to the next level. ProQuestCSA will be a true destination for serious research.”
— Marty Kahn, CEO of ProQuestCSA

ProQuestCSA (and its natural abbreviation, PQCSA) do not exactly roll off the tongue, so I wonder if a new name might be in store. But certainly, the alligator closest to the boat will be excising duplicative efforts of the two companies, usually things like sales, HR, etc. Then I think libraries will start to see announcements about product offerings.

This is another in a series of interesting mergers where the individual companies share many customers but don’t necessarily compete on products (generally, CSA is stronger in the sciences and ProQuest focuses on humanities and social sciences). The individual companies do have what would now seem like competitive partnerships (i.e., ProQuest with Serials Solutions and CSA with MuseGlobal), but they also have what I call (with a half grin) “synergistic opportunities.”

So do we watch the small fish or the big fish? Maybe we should keep our eyes on the whole ocean.


[This post originally appeared as part of American Libraries’ Hectic Pace Blog and is archived here.]

Last Updated on: January 19th, 2024 at 12:22 am, by Andrew K. Pace

Written by Andrew K. Pace