EMC and advisors: All or nothing

Contact: Brenon Daly

After EMC doled out no fewer than nine credits to different banks for working on its acquisition of Data Domain, we were curious how the deal credits would flow around the largest-ever purchase by EMC subsidiary VMware. (The unusually long list of advisers for EMC on Data Domain made us think – of all things – about the quip about compensation under some communist regimes: People pretended to work and the government pretended to pay them.) As it turns out, EMC/VMware swung to the other extreme, with not a single bank working for the virtualization giant in its purchase of SpringSource.

That’s not unusual, since VMware hadn’t really used bankers in the dozen or so acquisitions that it had inked before SpringSource. But those deals were mostly small. In fact, the cumulative spending for all of its earlier buys totals only about half of the $420m in cash and stock that VMware is set to hand over for SpringSource. By our tally, VMware’s pending purchase is the third-largest pickup of a VC-backed tech firm so far this year. Not that the print will show up for any bank. SpringSource didn’t use an adviser, either.