‘Progress-ing’ in a restructuring

Contact: Ben Kolada

Continuing its yearlong restructuring, Progress Software is selling its Apama complex event processing (CEP) assets to Software AG, effectively unwinding its 2005 acquisition of the startup. Although asset sales have become particularly popular and Progress has certainly been on a corporate diet lately, this move wasn’t widely expected in part because Progress had seemed to indicate that Apama was part of its core business.

In April 2012, Progress announced a restructuring plan that, among other moves, would refocus on its core OpenEdge, DataDirect and Apama products. However, the company has since had a change of heart regarding Apama. In announcing the divestiture, Progress said Apama’s target market of Wall Street and big telcos, as well as its deployment and sales model, differ significantly from Progress’ application development platform, which targets the midmarket. (We note that Progress is retaining Apama’s core decision analytics capability.)

The deal follows Progress’ sale of 10 product lines during the two previous quarters. Terms weren’t disclosed. (For the record, Progress paid $25m for Apama in April 2005.) According to our understanding, Software AG is paying less for Apama – both on an absolute and relative basis – than TIBCO paid in a directly comparable CEP deal earlier this week, when it reached for StreamBase Systems. We’ll have a longer report on this acquisition in an upcoming Daily 451.

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KEYW picks up Sensage to build out Project G

Contact: Ben Kolada

Just three days after announcing its largest acquisition – the $126m pickup of cybersecurity software development firm Poole & Associates – KEYW has snagged small security information and event management (SIEM) vendor Sensage for $24m, with an earnout potentially raising that price by $10.5m. The two companies had previously been partners, working together on KEYW’s networking cybersecurity platform, dubbed Project G.

KEYW is handing over $15m in cash and $9m in stock. The deal also includes an earnout of up to $3m in cash and $7.5m in stock, achievable based on unspecified revenue targets for the second half of the year. The transaction is expected to close in October.

The Redwood City, California-based target, which has 35 employees, generated about $12m in revenue last year and recorded a small operating loss for the first half of this year. However, although the legacy Sensage business will be retained, the company isn’t being valued on its sales, but rather its potential contribution to KEYW’s nascent Project G platform. Sensage CEO Joe Gottlieb will head the combined company’s Project G network security initiative. KEYW began commercially testing Project G in June.

Select precedent ESIM acquisitions

Date announced Acquirer Target Price/sales valuation
April 3, 2012 TIBCO Software LogLogic 3.5*
October 4, 2011 IBM Q1 Labs 8.8*
October 4, 2011 McAfee NitroSecurity 5.3*
June 23, 2011 SolarWinds TriGeo Network Security 3.9
September 13, 2010 Hewlett-Packard ArcSight 7.7

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase *451 Research estimate. Click links for full deal details.

For more real-time information on tech M&A, follow us on Twitter @MAKnowledgebase.

What’s up with the Bay Area?

Contact: Ben Kolada

Bay Area buyers have roared back to life in 2010. Compared to the same period a year ago, Bay Area buyers’ deal volume has increased 46%, while at the national level M&A has risen only 21%. Year-to-date, Bay Area-based acquirers announced 230 transactions, 19% of all technology deals undertaken by US-based companies. Further, these companies represent 19% of the total declared deal amount, including four of the 18 billion dollar-plus transactions made by US-based buyers. In the same period last year, Bay Area acquirers did only 162 deals.

So, what’s up with the Bay Area? Our data suggests that 15 big serial acquirers accounted for most of the increase. In fact, the number of Bay Area buyers acquiring three or more companies increased five-fold in 2010, compared to a 50% increase at the national level. After waiting on the sidelines in 2009, these companies have resumed M&A activity in full force. As a group, they bought 52 more companies in year-to-date 2010 than they bought in 2009. (An interesting note, Internet content providers were the preferred targets across the board, representing 22% of acquired companies at both the Bay Area and national levels.)

M&A activity by Bay Area buyers

Acquirer 2010 deal volume, year-to-date 2009 year-ago period
Google 15 0
Oracle 7 5
Playdom 6 0
Apple 4 0
Facebook 4 0
Symantec 4 1
Synopsys 4 1
Trimble Navigation 4 5
Cisco Systems 3 3
Hewlett-Packard 3 2
TIBCO Software 3 0
Twitter 3 0
VMware [EMC] 3 0
Yahoo 3 0
Zynga 3 0
Totals 69 17

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase, 451 Group research

Google is the poster child for Bay Area M&A. Year-to-date, the company has been involved in 15 transactions – the most since it inked the same amount of deals in full-year 2007. However, the search giant is noticeably absent from the 2009 ranking. Even though Mountain View, California-based Google had $8.6bn in cash at the end of 2008, the vendor took nearly a year-long break from M&A activity. Google’s M&A drought began after it acquired TNC in September 2008 and ended 11 months later, when it announced its first purchase of a public company – On2 Technologies – in August 2009.

Less than zero?

The company once known as MathSoft has been cancelled out by the following equation: 1 – 0.5 – 0.5 = 0. The firm made its first subtraction in early 2001, with the divestiture of its core technical calculations software business. That was followed up last week with the sale of the remaining chunk of the company – which sold data analysis software under the name Insightful Corp – to Tibco for $25m. (Along the way, Insightful further whittled off a small sliver of its business, some search assets it sold to Hypertext Solutions, which now does business as Evri, for $3.7m last year.)

If the name MathSoft seems only vaguely familiar, it’s because the old-line firm hasn’t existed for seven years, at least not under its original name and original business. Founded in 1984, the Massachusetts-based company emerged as MathSoft two years later. And while it’s too soon to say whether Tibco’s tiny purchase of Insightful will pay dividends, the former had better hope the acquisition goes smoother than the last one involving Insightful’s CEO. Before running Insightful, Jeff Coombs headed up marketing at Acta Technology – a startup selling ETL technology that was snapped up by Business Objects in mid-2002 for $65m.

Actually, that deal ended up costing Business Objects a fair bit more, in both money and time. The reason? Just a week after the deal was inked, ETL powerhouse Informatica filed a patent infringement case against Acta. That worked its way through the courts for the following four and a half years, until a jury decided a year ago to award Informatica $25m in damages. Tibco, too, has had courtroom headaches from one of its deals, picking up a company that was later sued in the widespread lawsuit over share allocations of IPOs in the bubble era. So both the buyer and seller in this deal have firsthand experience with negative additions through acquisitions. 

Subtraction from MathSoft

Date Event Price
Jan. 2001 Divestiture of core education products division $7m
August 2007 Surviving company Insightful sells search assets $3.7m
June 2008 Insightful sells to Tibco $25m

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase