Emulex goes from defense to offense

Contact: Brenon Daly

This time a year ago, Emulex was stiff-arming an unwelcome suitor. Now, it is warmly embracing another company. Emulex said Monday that it will acquire ServerEngines for $159m in cash and stock.

It will hand over about $78m in cash and eight million shares, which were valued at $81m based on Emulex’s closing price ahead of the announcement. The deal, which is expected to close in July, also has a possible earnout of four million shares that would be paid over the next two years. (While the terms are fairly straightforward, it does have one surprising agreement: a $10m breakup fee, representing a fairly steep 6% of the deal value.)

Emulex’s purchase of its partner comes a year after the vendor fended off an unsolicited bid from larger rival Broadcom. The fight between the two Southern California companies turned particularly nasty during the two-and-half-month process, which ended last July after Emulex’s board shot down Broadcom’s offer for a second time. (For the record, shares of Emulex trade at roughly the level of Broadcom’s first offer but 14% below its topping bid.) The two companies are still battling it out in the courtroom over alleged patent infringement.

As a final thought, we would note that Emulex’s contentious relationship with Broadcom is probably not an unknown feeling at the firm that it just acquired, ServerEngines. A decade ago, the CEO of SeverEngines, Raju Vegesna, sold his previous company ServerWorks to Broadcom for $1.8bn. He left two years later after a fallout with Broadcom leadership over the strategic direction of the business.