How do you say ‘Tumbleweed’ in French?

About a year and a half ago, we heard Tumbleweed Communications was being shopped hard by private equity firms. The intervening credit crises – which bumped up the price of debt and trimmed the returns on LBOs – quite likely tabled any buyout. The email security vendor has struggled since then. It came up short of Wall Street estimates in every quarter in 2007. Shares that changed hands above $3 each in early 2007 dropped in a straight line to just above $1 this March.

Rather than a PE shop, however, it turns out Tumbleweed’s buyer will be the Sopra Group, a French IT consulting firm. Sopra will make the acquisition through its Axway subsidiary, paying $2.70 in cash for each share. With about 51 million shares outstanding, Tumbleweed gets a an equity value of about $138m, only slightly more than twice the sales it is expected to record this year. Sopra also got a discount from its currency: the Euro has climbed about 18% in value since we reported on Tumbleweed in February 2007. See full report.