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The Inside Story Of Elsevier’s $50.6 Million Acquisition Of

March 6, 2020 |  

About this episode


To read a transcript of this episode, click here.

Back in 2004, John Moore started, a company that created three-dimensional models of the human body, photographed them and licensed the images to textbook publishers. When the Great Recession hit, Moore’s business took a turn, and he realized he needed to re-invent the company and decided to offer an application students could use to learn about anatomy.

They started selling their app directly to students, teachers and medical professionals. The business began to hum as more Universities – including the likes of Stanford and Cambridge – signed on.

By 2019, 3D4Medical was up to 75 employees, including a reliable management team. Moore was making plans to continue to grow the business when one of the biggest textbook publishers in the world made an offer to buy 3D4 Medical for $50.6 million.

Moore offers a ton of critical insights to an aspiring value builder, including:

Keep Your Partners Close: Elsevier, a book publisher, enjoyed a great relationship with 3D4Medcial and Moore for years leading up to the acquisition. The idea of an acquisition came up during the course of a friendly business meeting. Sometimes your best acquirer is an existing partner where there is already a bank of trust built up on both sides.

Create Automatic Customers: 3D4Medical’s growth stalled for a few years leading up to the decision to move to a subscription model. Moore credits the introduction of a subscription service with transforming his business into a growth company again.

Know and Protect Your Crown Jewels. Moore had created the most extensive library of stock medical images in the world using some of the most sophisticated 3D technology available. Elsevier could have created a bank of images for their textbooks. Still, they knew Moore had a 15-year head start, and the technology would be hard to replicate, which is one reason they decided to buy Moore’s company, rather than compete with it.

Lot’s more nuggets in the interview, including:

  • How software companies are valued
  • The impacts growth has on your valuation
  • A formula for sharing sale proceeds with your employees
  • How to know when to overhaul your business model

What Makes You Tough To Compete With?

Moore’s library of images is difficult to replicate, which made 3D4 Medical an attractive acquisition candidate. What makes you tough to complete with? We’ll help you find out when you complete Module six of The Value Builder System™ — complete module one by getting your Value Builder Score now. 

Check out our article on The Hidden Danger Of Cross-Selling.

Check out our full M&A Glossary

About Our Guest

John Moore is a serial entrepreneur who has built several mutlimillion dollar businesses. Moore has become known as a “rebel entrepreneur” because of his unique style in building his businesses. 3D4Medical, which Moore built from scratch on a shoestring budget, has single handedly revolutionised how anatomy is studied throughout the world through disruptive proprietary 3D technology. By the time that Moore sold 3D4Medical to Elsevier PLC, his company had replaced traditional textbooks and medical learning in over 300 of the world’s top universities, over 25 Million downloads and over 1.2 million subscribers. 3D4Medical’s award-winning medical platform Complete Anatomy has dominated the top spot on every single app store in over 160 countries. John Moore is now CEO of Moorezey Innovation Labs which owns companies committed to having a positive impact on the world using technology, innovation, health and wellbeing and investments that allow people to help themselves.

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