Both Compuware and CA Technologies recently announced deals for application development and the related field of performance monitoring in which the transactions themselves shared more than a few similarities. The two acquisitions saw the old-line companies, with their corporate roots in the mainframe era, paying nearly double-digit multiples for startups that have been doubling sales each year. Further, each buyer was adding the acquired technology to an existing management platform that has largely been shaped by earlier M&A.
In the first transaction, CA Technologies announced that it will hand over $330m in cash for ITKO, which adds testing capabilities to CA’s management portfolio as well as makes the company more of a player in ‘devops’ as cloud adoption blurs the roles between development and operations in IT departments. The following week, Compuware paid $256m in cash for dynaTrace Software to bolster its business transaction management offering, particularly in the area of pre-deployment performance monitoring, which goes hand-in-hand with testing. The two deals mean that the companies will be competing hard against each other in distributed systems performance testing and monitoring, especially around Java applications.
For the targets in the purchases, though ITKO and dynaTrace were focused on slightly different markets, the two startups had a number of traits in common. Both were founded far from Silicon Valley and went on to be parsimonious fundraisers, each drawing in only about $20m. (In other words, an exit price that was 10 times greater than the money that went into the company.) Both startups had more than 100 employees and were tracking to top $50m in sales next year. And finally, both startups went with boutiques to advise them on the sales, with ITKO tapping Qatalyst Partners and dynaTrace working with Pacific Crest Securities.