Imaging an alternative exit for LogMeIn

Contact: Brenon Daly

With LogMeIn set to price its IPO later today, the next ‘buyer’ of the company will be public market investors. The on-demand vendor will sell 6.7 million shares in an offering that’s being led by JPMorgan Chase and Barclays Capital. LogMeIn set an initial range of $14-16 per share, implying a market capitalization of $300m-340m. It will likely price above that range, and we expect strong demand for LogMeIn shares once they start trading under the ticker ‘LOGM’ on the Nasdaq.

As the company gets set to realize that exit (after more than 17 months on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission), we thought about where it might have looked had it opted for the other possible exit, a trade sale. We’re not suggesting that LogMeIn was dual-tracking by any means. In fact, although it kept its S-1 alive while so many other tech companies pulled their IPO paperwork, that move wasn’t driven by desperation. LogMeIn doesn’t actually need the proceeds. It is heading into the offering with no debt and $27m in cash on its books, having generated cash for the past nine quarters. Even on a GAAP basis, the firm has been profitable for the past three quarters.

Thus, LogMeIn doesn’t need the offering any more than it needs a trade sale. And to be clear, we hadn’t heard that the company was pursuing anything other than an IPO. Nonetheless, as we did some blue-sky thinking, we quickly came up with two deep-pocketed companies that would have been very smart to nab LogMeIn before it went public. Keep in mind, too, that the two primary rivals to LogMeIn are GoToMyPC and WebEx Communications, firms that have been snapped up by tech giants Citrix and Cisco, respectively.

So here’s our hypothetical short list of possible buyers for LogMeIn. Symantec already has several products that compete with LogMeIn (notably, PC Anywhere), but it is a key partner for LogMeIn. And Big Yellow has shown that it is ready to go shopping to bolster its software-as-a-service business. It paid $695m, or almost 5x trailing 12-month sales, for MessageLabs last October, its largest deal in more than a year and a half. Alternatively, Dell knows all about picking up companies just before they go public. It paid a double-digit multiple for its push into storage with the $1.4bn EqualLogic purchase in November 2007. However, Dell has also done a quartet of deals to build out its services offerings, some of which are offered by LogMeIn and others that are complementary. In addition, the customer profiles of the two vendors would synch pretty well, since LogMeIn gets roughly 80% of its revenue from the SMB market.