Contact: Ben Kolada
Depending on which way the bidding goes for systems management vendor Quest Software, Smarsh’s future could change considerably. The compliance-focused archiving startup announced in February that it sold a majority of its equity to Quest, just three weeks before its newfound parent became the center of an ongoing bidding war. But one side’s plans for Quest post-close may not include Smarsh.
After the closing bell Tuesday, Vector Capital joined Insight Venture Partners and Quest’s management in announcing that they had increased their offer for Quest to $25.75 per share, for a total deal value of about $2.24bn by our calculations. The revised bid tops a competing offer from an unidentified suitor – widely believed to be Dell – that was announced last week.
While all eyes are on Quest at the moment, the continued bidding casts a shadow over who will ultimately own Smarsh. Right now, the company is seen as more of a Quest investment rather than an operating business unit.
If Insight and the rest ultimately win Quest, Smarsh could be considered just another portfolio company for the private equity firms. However, if that unidentified bidder is Dell, and Dell ultimately wins, Smarsh could soon be cast off, since Dell already offers archiving products competitive to Smarsh. In 2008, Dell acquired MessageOne – a direct rival to Smarsh – for a whopping $155m. Dell also has its own archive storage system, the DX platform, based on software OEMed from Caringo. (However, we’d note that neither of these initiatives seems to have gone too far yet.)
Rather than worry about would could happen in the future, Smarsh is keeping itself busy in the present. The company has announced two acquisitions in the past month. In May, Smarsh bought Web content-archiving vendor Perpetually.com and on Tuesday it announced the purchase of compliance-focused website hoster AdvisorSquare, which targets the finance vertical. The deals should ramp up the company’s growth rate for 2012 and 2013. We estimate that Smarsh generated $20m in revenue last year, or about 30% year-over-year top-line growth.
Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase
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