Contact: Ben Kolada
Those merely glancing at the headlines of Informatica’s press releases would see that on Wednesday the company unveiled the latest version of its cloud-integration PaaS product, Cloud Spring 2013. However, only by reading further would an interested party see that the company has also quietly acquired cloud process automation vendor Active Endpoints. This isn’t the first time Informatica has been shy with its M&A announcements, but recent financial results could give the company the confidence to be much louder with its future acquisitions.
Informatica’s previous small tuck-in of Data Scout only came to light with the launch of Informatica Cloud MDM in September 2012 and the subsequent release of Informatica Cloud Winter 2013. Perhaps that deal didn’t deserve significant attention, as it cost Informatica just $6m.
In fact, with the exception of Heiler Software, Informatica’s dealmaking since 2011 has involved mostly small, sub-$10m tuck-ins. Its median deal size from the beginning of 2011 to today (including Heiler Software) is just $7m. That compares with a median deal size of $55m for the 11 transactions it announced before then.
The turn toward smaller acquisitions, and hiding some of them in product announcements, could be explained to a degree by the unfolding economy in Europe. Europe’s struggling economy eventually hit home and weighed heavily on Informatica’s Q3 2012 profit.
Although Europe is still experiencing economic turmoil, Informatica seems to have been able to cushion the continent’s effect on its top line. After a downturn in profit in the third quarter, the company recently released results that showed better-than-expected revenue in the fourth quarter. (However, net income still came in below the year-ago period.) If future results continue to play to Informatica’s favor, we could see the company becoming more boisterous with its M&A announcements in the future. We’ll have a longer report on Informatica’s acquisition of Active Endpoints in our next Daily 451.
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Contact: Ben Kolada
After last year’s storage and data-warehousing feeding frenzies provided outsized returns to target companies’ venture investors, a new breed of ‘big data’ vendors is renewing venture capitalists’ interests. So-called NoSQL and NewSQL database firms had already been catching investors’ attention, securing millions of additional dollars in VC financing. Eventually, we expect the fast growth that drew interest from VCs to also draw interest from corporate buyers. However, the price potential acquirers will have to pay is constantly rising.
VCs are attacking big data pains again, this time by investing in a number of promising database startups. 10gen, Couchbase and Neo Technology, for example, each secured more than $10m in financing in the third quarter. The size of these recent rounds, which were almost certainly substantial up-rounds, is due in part to the fact that some of these startups have already proven themselves and are posting triple-digit growth rates. My colleague Matt Aslett recently wrote that Basho Technologies is aiming to increase its revenue seven-fold this year. And we’ve got our thumb on the pulse of another startup that expects to nearly quintuple its annual revenue, surpassing its initial 300% growth projection.
While most of the NoSQL and NewSQL startups are still in the single-digit millions of revenue, continued growth rates will likely increase their current valuations. Further, additional venture investments needed to fuel that growth will lead to even wider gaps in valuations between potential acquirers and sellers. In our recent survey of corporate development executives, half of respondents expected the valuation gap between buyers and sellers to widen. And from our view, already sky-high valuations in hot sectors such as big data and cloud computing will almost certainly rise, regardless of what happens in the public markets. If so, potential suitors such as Oracle, Informatica or Teradata will have to reach deeper into their pockets to snare promising database properties.
Select recent NoSQL venture investments (rounded to nearest $m)
Source: 451 Group research, listed by size of round
Informatica’s acquisition of Identity Systems, which closed last Thursday, brought the data integration specialist even closer to Oracle. The two companies have had an odd relationship, with Informatica competing against the behemoth virtually since it opened its doors some 15 years ago. (Despite the fact that Oracle gives away its bare-bones Warehouse Builder, Informatica has been able to build up a business that rang up nearly $400m in sales last year, having grown revenue more than 20% for three straight years.)
Through its non-stop acquisitions, Oracle actually OEMs three bits of technology from Informatica, including the just-acquired Identity Systems. Mantas – an anti-money-laundering vendor acquired by Oracle’s i-flex solutions – includes the identity resolution technology from Identity Systems. (Informatica had older OEM arrangements with Hyperion Solutions and Siebel Systems, both of which were gobbled up by Oracle.)
Recently, rumors have been picking up that Oracle may be looking to own Informatica outright. Making such a move would dramatically strengthen Oracle’s data-quality offering, as well as beef up its semi-structured and unstructured data integration story. (Those are areas where IBM has a pretty solid portfolio.) Oracle has already made a small acquisition in this market, spending an estimated $45m on Sunopsis in October 2006. But it still trails the business that rival IBM has acquired through its purchases of Ascential Software and DataMirror.
Of course, one of Informatica’s main selling points is that it’s a neutral party and doesn’t push other applications. That pitch has resonated with customers. Last year, Informatica posted license revenue growth of 20%. Of course, that neutrality would be gone if Oracle gobbled up Informatica. However, Ellison and the rest of the sharp-penciled M&A group at Oracle are realists at the bottom line. Financially, it may be worthwhile for them to give up several hundred of Informatica’s 3,000 customers as a way to protect a database revenue stream.
Selected data integration deals