Renewed rumors in MDM M&A, spotlight on Fiberlink

Contact; Ben Kolada

Rumors are swirling again about a possible takeover of one of the largest mobile device management (MDM) vendors. While we previously reported on speculation that AirWatch was nearing a sale to BMC, rumors this time put the spotlight on Fiberlink Communications.

Several industry sources have told us that mobile and laptop management veteran Fiberlink, better known nowadays for its MaaS360 mobile management product line, has been shopping itself. If a deal comes to fruition, it would most likely be the largest sale yet of an MDM provider.

We’re hearing varying rumors regarding the Blue Bell, Pennsylvania-based company. A couple of sources noted that Fiberlink had been shopping itself for a while, and that talks at one point fell apart, until an unknown suitor unexpectedly came back to the table. The company declined to comment on those rumors.

No word yet on who may be bidding for Fiberlink. Last year we wrote that the 21-year-old company was profitable, with revenue in the $50-100m range. Fiberlink has not taken funding since 2003, when it secured a $50m round led by Technology Crossover Ventures.

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Going, going, gone: Go Daddy sells to KKR

After canceling a proposed IPO in 2006 and reportedly being on the block since late last year, The Go Daddy Group is now selling an undisclosed stake to private equity firms KKR, Silver Lake Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures. The deal is believed to be among the largest private equity investments in the Internet infrastructure industry, and continues an emerging trend of buyout shops acquiring mass-market hosters and repositioning them toward higher-end services.

Reportedly worth $2.25bn, the transaction lands squarely in second place among the largest PE investments in this industry. We note that the first-place prize goes to a group led by Silver Lake (and including KKR) in the $11.3bn take private of SunGard Data Systems in 2005. Silver Lake’s interest in the industry is increasing – the Go Daddy deal comes less than a year after the firm took a minority stake in a similar hoster, Brazil-based LocaWeb.

We expect that KKR and the other investors will focus on international expansion as well as investment in cloud services. Silver Lake’s stake in LocaWeb could be particularly useful. The Latin American hosting and colocation markets are seeing increasing interest (heavyweights Savvis and Equinix have each announced plans for the region). We wouldn’t be surprised if LocaWeb and Go Daddy ultimately became partners. Further, we’ve noticed that PE firms tend to refocus their mass-market hosting companies on more specialized, higher-end cloud services. LocaWeb’s cloud services could provide additional expansion opportunities for Go Daddy, which recently began a limited launch of its own cloud product. We’ll have a full report on the Go Daddy deal in tonight’s Daily 451.