Interplay between M&A and IPO

Contact: Brenon Daly

With the IPO calendar essentially blank right now – and likely to stay that way as long as the Nasdaq keeps lurching downward – companies that are both of size and mind to go public are using the pause to do a little shopping of their own. These transactions tend to be smaller plays, typically rounding out the company’s existing portfolio. (We would contrast these tuck-in deals with the larger consolidation plays that companies make so they can get big enough to paper their S-1. Of course, those deals only work when the public market is receptive. For instance, Convio acquired a rival that was about half its size in hopes of bulking up and going public. It pulled its IPO paperwork last August.)

Last summer, we noted that NetQos inked a small buy on its way to what we expect will be a larger sale of its equity to the public, whenever the market returns (it was the first deal by the network performance management vendor in some two-and-a-half years). In a similar situation, Tangoe last week announced that it was picking up mobile device management startup InterNoded.

The deal, which was Tangoe’s third purchase in less than two years, certainly wasn’t done to boost revenue. InterNoded posted sales of about $4m in 2008; meanwhile, Tangoe is anticipating about $60m in 2009. Tangoe has raised some $20m in VC, along with an undisclosed slug of debt. But the company, which is running in the black, doesn’t appear to have any immediate plans to raise capital (even if that were possible right now). We understand that it hasn’t met with bankers, much less held a bake-off.