Plenty of capital for Human Capital Management buyers

Contact: Brenon Daly

For the fragmented market segment called human capital management (HCM), we’d put the emphasis on ‘capital.’ Both of the two largest public HCM vendors (Taleo and SuccessFactors) have done secondaries in recent months, despite already having pretty fat treasuries. Taleo, which held some $77m in cash at the end of the most recent quarter, sold more than $130m worth of stock in late November. That offering came a month after rival SuccessFactors, which held $122m in cash, raised some $215m in its secondary.

Despite all the cash, neither player has been particularly concerned with using it to go shopping. SuccessFactors has never bought a company while Taleo has inked just one deal in each of the past two years. In May 2008, Taleo consolidated rival Vurv Technology for $128.8m in cash and stock. Last September, it spent $16m in cash for startup Worldwide Compensation, an acquisition that followed an initial early investment in the compensation management vendor. We have noted for some time that both SuccessFactors and Taleo are likely to be busy, and in fact, we heard gossip that SuccessFactors came very close to closing a deal at the end of 2009, but it fell through.

We were thinking about all this potential M&A last week, when one of the HCM rollups got rolling. Authoria, which is owned by buyout firm Bedford Funding, announced its first deal since it got snapped up in September 2008. We estimate that the $100m purchase of Peopleclick will more than double Authoria’s revenue. Not that the deal tapped out Authoria’s bank account, either. It still has some $700m to spend. Adding up the money the would-be buyers (both financial and strategic) have to shop in this market, we expect HCM deals to follow in 2010.