Mirror moves at CA and Compuware

Contact: Brenon Daly, Dennis Callaghan

Both Compuware and CA Technologies recently announced deals for application development and the related field of performance monitoring in which the transactions themselves shared more than a few similarities. The two acquisitions saw the old-line companies, with their corporate roots in the mainframe era, paying nearly double-digit multiples for startups that have been doubling sales each year. Further, each buyer was adding the acquired technology to an existing management platform that has largely been shaped by earlier M&A.

In the first transaction, CA Technologies announced that it will hand over $330m in cash for ITKO, which adds testing capabilities to CA’s management portfolio as well as makes the company more of a player in ‘devops’ as cloud adoption blurs the roles between development and operations in IT departments. The following week, Compuware paid $256m in cash for dynaTrace Software to bolster its business transaction management offering, particularly in the area of pre-deployment performance monitoring, which goes hand-in-hand with testing. The two deals mean that the companies will be competing hard against each other in distributed systems performance testing and monitoring, especially around Java applications.

For the targets in the purchases, though ITKO and dynaTrace were focused on slightly different markets, the two startups had a number of traits in common. Both were founded far from Silicon Valley and went on to be parsimonious fundraisers, each drawing in only about $20m. (In other words, an exit price that was 10 times greater than the money that went into the company.) Both startups had more than 100 employees and were tracking to top $50m in sales next year. And finally, both startups went with boutiques to advise them on the sales, with ITKO tapping Qatalyst Partners and dynaTrace working with Pacific Crest Securities.

Omniture: the optimistic opportunist

-Contact Thomas Rasmussen

After digesting its $382m double-down acquisition of competitor Visual Sciences last year, Web analytics firm Omniture is bullish on buying. At the Pacific Crest Securities conference last week, the company outlined its M&A strategy, which essentially boils down to one word: opportunistic. It tucked in its struggling competitor Mercado Software for $6.5m in November 2008, adding an estimated $12m to its top line. The company had raised $66m in venture capital over the past 10 years. Omniture told us some of Mercado’s large customers had in fact approached it to do the deal. Moreover, Omniture said its remaining privately held competitors Coremetrics and WebTrends are struggling. The company added that it’s seeing an increasing amount of their customers transition over (some even in mid-contract), and it’s ready to deal, as long as it’s at 2009-type discounts.

Not so fast, say the two firms, which we estimate ring up combined revenue of just south of $200m. WebTrends, which PE shop Francisco Partners took off of NetIQ’s books in 2005 for $94m, says that despite a shakeup in management, the company is well positioned. It cites profitability, consistent quarter-over-quarter growth, its highest revenue quarter in its history last quarter, and says it has no need for further funding from its rich backer. (Reports Thursday indicated that Francisco is set to begin raising a third fund, targeting at least $2bn.) Meanwhile, Coremetrics seems to have overindulged on venture capital, closing a $60m series E round last March, bringing its total raised to date to $111m. We tend to get skeptical when this happens, especially in this environment. However, CEO Joe Davis assured us that having shelved further funding-related expansion plans, the company has the majority of the latest round in the bank. Its January restructuring will return the company to cash-flow neutral this month, and cash-flow positive going forward, and it is on track to grow revenue 20% year over year. The CEO added, “Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated by my competitor.”

With more than $80m in cash and short-term investments, its profitable standing and surprisingly upbeat outlook, Omniture can certainly handle a few more tuck-ins. Will it scoop up its feisty rivals? At the moment, it certainly does not look like it. In fact, competitors Coremetrics and WebTrends, which haven’t been in the market since 2006 and 2007, respectively, say they are looking at doing some buying of their own and have the cash to do so.

Omniture M&A

Completed Target Enterprise value Revenue multiple Price per customer
November 2008 Mercado Software $6.5m 0.5x* $32,500*
January 2008 Visual Sciences $382m 5.0x $240,302
December 2007 Offermatica $65m 7.2x* $650,000

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase *451 Group estimate