WP Engine Acquires 5 Plugins From Delicious Brains

Delicious Brains, a WordPress product company founded in 2012 by Brad Touesnard, has sold five of its plugins to WP Engine: Advanced Custom Fields (ACF), WP Migrate, WP Offload Media, WP Offload SES, and Better Search Replace.

Over the past four years, WP Engine has been scooping up developer tools through acquisitions, including StudioPress and the Genesis Framework (2018), Flywheel and its Local development tool (2019) and the Frost block theme (2021). The five Delicious Brains plugins, which are active on more than four million WordPress sites, greatly expand WP Engine’s reach into the developer market. ACF, which allows developers to control WordPress edit screens and custom field data, accounts for two million users.

Delicious Brains will continue with its SpinupWP product which allows developers to spin up a server and manage it via a cloud-based control panel.

“What if I could exit the plugin side of the business but keep SpinupWP and continue on with that project and its team?” Touesnard said in a post explaining why he sold the plugins. “The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. 

“In the previous 18 months, we had gone from 10 people to 34. I was now a manager of managers and also directing marketing – not my strongest areas and I was stretched pretty thin so not doing my best work. At the same time, I wasn’t spending nearly as much time on SpinupWP as I would have liked.”

Touesnard pitched the idea of selling the plugins to his connections at WP Engine and they were enthusiastic. The company is also acqui-hiring several members of the Delcious Brains team to continue supporting the products.

“I’ve often said that if for some reason I couldn’t work for a month or more that Iain Poulson would step up and keep Delicious Brains running and thriving without me,” Touesnard said. “He has been with Delicious Brains since the early days, has worked across all the products, and makes sure that things get done that need doing. I’m very happy to say that Iain will be joining WP Engine, overseeing the continued development of ACF. Matt Shaw and Liam Gladdy will continue their work as developers on ACF as well.

“Although Kevin Hoffman only joined us last August, he has made a huge impact on WP Migrate and Better Search Replace as product manager. I’m very pleased to say that he will continue that work partnering with Phil Webster and Ahmed Hussein. He will also continue working with Ian Jones and Erik Torsner on WP Offload Media and WP Offload SES.”

Touesnard said support teams for each product will remain in place and the plugins’ developers will continue helping out in support as issues are escalated to them.

WP Engine has promised to honor ACF Pro lifetime licenses and Touesnard said the company “has no plans to change subscription prices for any of the plugins for the foreseeable future.”


14 responses to “WP Engine Acquires 5 Plugins From Delicious Brains”

    • I don’t think it was a bad business decision at all. They must have known exactly what they where setting them up for; a group of users that will receive free upgrades for the lifetime of the product. They traded that for upfront cash. If that is a good or bad deal depends on perspective.

      Yes, some of these customers would otherwise be paying a subscription now. But others would not. I clearly would not install ACF Pro on every site I build if it would come with a (recurring) cost, it would be decided carefully from case to case. So these lifetime license holder are probably good marketing, spreading the use of ACF Pro and keeping the plugin relevant (extra important with the transition to the block editor).

      And there are probably lifetime license holders out there who long ago moved on to other things but bought the license just in case, thus generating good cash back then.

      Continuing to give ut these updates does actually cost them anything, it’s just some hypothetical money on the table. And if support for these users is a burden (I have no idea if it is) then charge for it. It’s a lifetime license, not a lifetime support deal.

  1. ACF Pro is a direct competitor to WPE’s Genesis Custom Blocks products (formerly Block Lab), though my guess is ACF Pro has a much higher share of the market than GCB. I’ll be interested to see if these two products are maintained separately or if GCB will be absorbed into ACF or sunset.

  2. This worries me. Genesis blocks hasnt seen a proper feature update since they bought atomic blocks and it has a major flaw which they haven’t addressed. It doesn’t sync with the block editor global styles and uses its own way of implementing color styles. With no official roadmap, and no real innovation in over a year, it makes me worry about ACF and WPMigrate.

  3. Well, from their business perspective, this must be good news. They gain access to larger customer base, they gain greater control of the market and they also penetrate on areas where they weren’t before. Pretty good news for the shareholders.
    However, imo this is bad news for the industry. The less independent companies there are, the less competition there is. This results to market manipulations and to scenarios which seem similar to the case of cPanel and how their purchase brought a huge change in the hosting industry.
    Really hope, for the common good, that the market will realize that such developments may harm SMEs in the long term. The need to support small and independent companies is higher than ever.

  4. I think this is good for a business purpose, because they can now reach to the broader audience. It is always right for the company. Using ACF pro can be a good addition to this. Thanks for sharing this informative article with us. Looking forward to read such more articles.

  5. Missed this news first time round as had covid. Honestly has me very concerned that a hosting company now owns ACF, and it was sold twice in a year. As the only plugin used on every site I build this is worrisome.


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