Comings and goings on US exchanges

Contact: Brenon Daly

The flurry of M&A announcements on Wednesday not only boosted trans-Atlantic shopping totals so far this year by nearly 20%, it also continued the trend of thinning the ranks of US public companies. The pair of Nasdaq-listed firms that got erased on Wednesday (Borland and Vignette) brings the number of acquisition announcements of US public tech companies to some 22 so far this year.

To be clear, that sum is made up of deal announcements, not closed transactions. So it includes offers that have been rejected by the would-be target (Emulex) as well as bids where the terms are still in play (SumTotal Systems). Against that, we have had only a minimal ‘repopulation’ of the US exchanges. Just three tech companies – none of which is a true IT vendor – have gone public this year. That’s about to change with SolarWinds, which is expected to hit the market in a week or two. (And on the consumer Internet side, OpenTable set the terms of its planned IPO on Thursday.)

We would also note that Wednesday’s ‘twofer’ of Borland and Vignette is actually the third time in the past month that two deals for US public companies have been announced in a single day. The other days: April 20, with Oracle-Sun Microsystems and Trilogy-Autobytel, and April 13, with Thoma Bravo’s bid for Entrust and Image Holdings’ reach for InFocus. In terms of banking, JP Morgan Securities did the double Wednesday, advising both Borland and Vignette on their sales to Micro Focus and Open Text, respectively. But the bank is doing its part to add back public companies, leading the SolarWinds offering.