Polishing off Aladdin

Contact: Brenon Daly

After almost five months of sometimes-heated negotiations, buyout shop Vector Capital and Aladdin Knowledge Systems have agreed to take the authentication vendor private. The accord comes after two formal price adjustments (one up, one down) that left the final deal valued at $160m. Vector plans to slot Aladdin into SafeNet, which it acquired in March 2007 for $634m.

Vector’s two security purchases stand in sharp contrast to each other, since the SafeNet transaction went through with a minimum of histrionics. Consider that SafeNet took just five weeks to close, compared to the drawn-out battle for Aladdin, which included the threat of a proxy fight. Part of that may be explained by the relative valuation of the two deals. Vector paid about 2x trailing 12-month sales for SafeNet, twice the multiple it is paying for Aladdin. That discount compares to a roughly 40% slump in the Nasdaq during the time between the two acquisitions.