Do-or-die time for LANDesk divestiture

Contact: Brenon Daly

It’s do-or-die time for the LANDesk divestiture, with the period of exclusivity with the most serious bidder set to expire Friday. Buyout shop Thoma Bravo is said to be the last remaining party at the table for the systems management vendor, which Emerson Electric has been trying to shed for more than six months. The current betting is that Thoma Bravo, which has done a half-dozen deals so far this year, will not take home LANDesk.

Thoma Bravo, of course, already has a play in this market – one that it got thanks to another public company divestiture. The private equity (PE) firm picked up the IT asset management division from Macrovision (now known as Rovi) in February 2008, renaming the business Flexera Software. Flexera has since bolted on four other businesses, including the purchase of ManageSoft in May. As my colleague Dennis Callaghan has noted, the hypothetical pairing of Flexera and LANDesk would bring some overlap, but would add technology for endpoint security management, service desk, remote control, power management and application virtualization that Flexera doesn’t have on its own.

While the combination makes sense strategically, we have heard that the process is snagged financially. Several sources have indicated that the asking price for LANDesk has come down from more than $300m early in the process to $250m now. (LANDesk sold for $416m back in April 2006 to Avocent, which was subsequently acquired by Emerson.) At the current level, LANDesk would be valued at more than eight times EBITDA, according to our understanding. That might prove a little rich for Thoma Bravo.