SuccessFactors pays a peak price for Plateau

Contact: Brenon Daly

Plateau Systems certainly got a peak price from SuccessFactors. At $290m, the cash-and-stock acquisition is the largest purchase of a privately held human capital management (HCM) vendor. In fact, the pending purchase of Plateau is larger than a half-dozen acquisitions of public HCM companies we have recorded in recent years.

Similarly, the deal – which is roughly three times more than SuccessFactors had spent, collectively, on M&A – also stands out when compared to the two most-significant transactions in the learning management software (LMS) market where Plateau does its business.

Earlier this year, private equity-backed SumTotal Systems paid an estimated $150m for GeoLearning while a half-year ago, SuccessFactors’ direct rival Taleo handed over $125m for Just as those two deals have a lower aggregate price than Plateau’s price, publicly traded LMS vendor Saba Software actually garners a lower valuation on the market ($270m) than Plateau is set to receive in its sale.