Former high-flyer Cassatt sold in low-multiple deal to CA

Contact: Brenon Daly

Few datacenter startups in recent memory have commanded as much attention – or as much investment – as Cassatt. The company, which drew in some $100m in backing, had top engineering talent and proven executives, starting with CEO Bill Coleman. Realizing the promise of all that, however, has proved difficult for Cassatt. It has shuffled through a number of business plans, trying to find a viable strategy. And now, we understand, Cassatt has sold to CA Inc for a fraction of the amount it raised. An announcement is expected next week.

It’s an unfortunate – if unsurprising – end to Cassatt. The company has been for sale for several months and we understand that a number of tech giants, including Oracle and IBM, looked at Cassatt. We can only imagine that talks with any would-be buyers must have been complicated by the fact that they would have had a hard time knowing exactly what they would be buying. Cassatt itself would have had a different answer, depending on when the question was asked.

In its early days, Cassatt was a high-performance computing vendor, but then switched to utility computing and, most recently, positioned itself as an eco-efficient IT vendor. (One byproduct of the ever-evolving business model is that Cassatt was only able to collect two dozen or so customers over its six-year history. We understand that the company did about $12m in revenue last year.) That’s not a knock on Cassatt. The company had grand plans – and raised money to match them. But in the end, it was probably too early into this market. Cassatt’s technology may well play a role in helping to manage the datacenter in the future, but that’s up to CA now.