And the musical chairs of who owns what slowed slightly this week as Cision finalized its $841 million acquisition of press-release distributor PR Newswire

Cision, a provider of software and analytics tools for public relations and social media, announced the agreement to buy PR Newswire from London-based media, events and publishing firm UBM in December.

This was before UBM's recent acquisition of Joe Pulizzi's Cleveland-based Content Marketing Institute (CMI) for $17.6 million. Collectively, the sale of PR Newswire and purchase of CMI reinforce UBM's broad, ongoing strategic focus on the events space and its push away from media and publishing.

PR Newswire is now a Cision company in all markets worldwide except Dubai and China, where it is pending regulatory review. 

Cision and PR Newswire will provide clients with content distribution, influencer outreach, media monitoring and analytics offerings. This also expands Cision’s international reach, providing access to 170 countries and 40 languages.

Cision CEO Peter Granat said in a statement that the acquisition of PR Newswire "is a huge step" in providing his customers an integrated solution for all their PR, investor relations and social media needs. But he apparently doesn't need any help from former PR Newswire CEO Bob Gray, who is leaving the company with the close of the deal.

Granat will be the CEO of the combined organization.

In other technology software news ...

Episerver Invests in Partners

Stockholm-based digital experience provider Episerver announced this week a series of North American partner investments including the addition of six people to meet what officials called growing demand for its Digital Experience Cloud platform.

Episerver will add new partner development, channel sales support and technical enablement resources, as well as increase its partner marketing team. It also appointed Dominic Citino as vice president of North American Partner Development. 

In his role, Citino will be responsible for recruiting new and developing existing partners within the Episerver North American partner ecosystem. He brings more than 15 years of retail, sales and marketing, and strategic-alliances experience.

Most recently a leader in global partnerships and alliances at Rackspace, a managed cloud computing company, Citino helped develop Sitecore’s Global Partner Program following digital marketing, industry-specific and product management positions at Microsoft and Oracle.  

The Episerver Partner Success Program offers partner engagement spanning sales and marketing resources. The Episerver World community includes about 30,000 registered developers.

Customer Messaging Firm Gets $12M

Relay Network, a Philadelphia-based customer messaging company, raised an additional $12 million in financing led by existing investors NewSpring Capital and supported by First Round Capital. It also announced an investment through the Independence Health Group organization, the parent company of Independence Blue Cross. 

This latest investment brings the company’s total funding to $28 million. The company will use the funding to continue scaling the platform and operations to help businesses better engage and service their customers, and drive adoption of their digital strategies, according to company officials.

"Businesses are realizing a huge opportunity to improve customer relationships by making them feel more like personal interactions," Matt Gillin, CEO and co-founder of Relay Network, said in a statement. 

"Social networks and messaging apps have changed consumer expectations for how they receive and absorb information. Customers want things to be easy, contextual and real time. Relay has developed a fundamentally different approach to solving the problem - we call it 'connected service.' Rather than dealing with service incidents as they happen, we establish a personal one-to-one, known connection with every customer on their own communication network.”

Companies use Relay Network to bring their customers into their own private personalized messaging network. 

Blueshift Expands APAC Presence

Blueshift, a San Francisco provider which offers B2C marketing automation, added two executives to its Asia-Pacific (APAC) team. Dhruv Shanker joins as vice president and head of APAC. He is based in Singapore. Nipun Bhatia joins as vice president of engineering to launch the company’s operations in India. 

Blueshift already serves APAC customers such as Redmart, Singapore’s largest online grocer, and India-based Snapdeal, Shopclues and Oyo Rooms.   

Shanker will lead Blueshift’s expansion by establishing and developing relationships with brands and other marketers in the region. Bhatia will oversee Blueshift’s technology organization as the company continues to grow.