LANDesk nearly done

Contact: Brenon Daly

After a nearly half-year process, Emerson Electric is close to having LANDesk off its books. Emerson, which picked up the systems management vendor when it acquired Avocent for $1.2bn last fall, classifies LANDesk as a ‘discontinued operation’ and hired Greenhill & Co to advise it on the divestiture. We understand that final bids are being submitted right now, and a deal announcement is expected in two weeks or so.

Although it’s unclear who will end up with LANDesk, several sources have indicated that the buyer is likely to be another company, rather than a buyout shop. (Corporate castoffs often land in the portfolios of PE firms for a period of ‘rehabilitation’ before being snapped up by another company. Indeed, that was the path for LANDesk, which was sold off by Intel in 2002 to a pair of PE buyers, Vector Capital and VSpring Capital, before being bought four years later by Avocent.) Of course, a PE buyer could pair the LANDesk property with an existing portfolio company to enjoy some of the cost savings that generally allow strategic buyers to outbid pure financial buyers.

In an earlier report, my colleague Dennis Callaghan highlighted a few potential buyers for LANDesk, including virtualization vendors, hardware companies and security firms. However, we understand that the obvious suitors in those sectors are no longer in the process: VMware and Lenovo, both of which have key partnerships with LANDesk, are said to have moved on.

Another corporate buyer that we can scratch off the list? Novell. Apparently, the company was aggressively courting LANDesk early in the process, including offering a rumored high price in exchange for exclusivity. Of course, Novell has other issues to contend with, and may well be a seller of the overall company rather than a buyer of other assets.