Numara keeps flowing along

Contact: Brenon Daly

Throughout its long and winding 20-year history, the name may have changed for Numara Software, but the business is still the same. The IT service desk management vendor was originally known as Blue Ocean Software, a name that got erased during the three years the company was owned by Intuit. After TA Associates sponsored a carve-out of the business in October 2005, the newly independent company came up with the name of Numara, a play on its former moniker that means ‘new ocean’ in Latin.

Regardless of what the Tampa, Florida-based company has been called, it has consistently thrown off a ton of cash. According to our understanding, privately held Numara runs north of $100m in sales and north of 35% EBITDA margins. Just recently, the company began to put some of that cash to work in M&A.

After two years out of the market, Numara recently reached across the Atlantic to pick up an Estonian mobile device management (MDM) startup called Fromdistance. (The deal was a tiny one, lining up very closely with the terms for a similar purchase by Research in Motion earlier this year. We estimate that RIM paid about $6m for German MDM startup ubitexx, which was generating less than $1m in sales.) And Numara may not be done shopping. We understand that the company is currently looking at a handful of other possible acquisitions and could well shore up a deal in the next few months.

A new frontier in IT management M&A

Contact: Brenon Daly

Few areas of software have seen more consolidation than the broad bucket known as IT service management (ITSM). Where vendors were once selling relatively simple helpdesk software, the offerings have evolved – primarily through M&A – into broader IT management platforms. The deals have ranged from massive strategic bets (Hewlett-Packard’s $4.5bn reach for Mercury Interactive, for instance) to tiny technology tuck-ins (e.g., EMC’s March 2008 addition of Infra Corp).

But what we hadn’t really seen in this flurry of dealmaking is an acquisition focused on mobile capabilities. Well, that was true until Thursday, when BMC Software reached for Aeroprise. (BMC is slotting Aeroprise into its Remedy portfolio, a business that BMC acquired in 2002 for $347.3m from bankrupt parent company Peregrine Systems.) The acquisition bolsters BMC’s ability to deliver its ITSM tools to smartphones and tablets of all flavors. And BMC knows the startup very well. It has been selling Aeroprise products (branded as a BMC offering) for the past year.