Picking off the slow-movers: $15bn for tech PE now sloshing around at Silverlake, more to come

Silver Lake plans to announce on Tuesday that it has closed its fifth buyout fund at $15 billion, one of the biggest ever dedicated to technology deals. That exceeds the $12.5 billion fund-raising target that the firm had previously aimed for and brings the firm’s total assets and committed capital to about $39 billion.

They seem to get good returns:

Silver Lake’s fourth fund, with $10.5 billion under management, currently boasts returns of nearly 31 percent, according to the data provider PitchBook.

Meanwhile, as Dan Primack mentioned, you can expect $100bn from SoftBank.

What this means is that more older, lower growth software companies will be taken private. More than likely, their day-to-day operations will be optimized to get their cash-flow fixed up and increase profits. These companies can then act as cash machines and find some exit after the PE owners “fix” management and operations problems at the company.

That usually means consolidation, which results in firing people, but also fixing stubborn “frozen middle” problems that have preventing each product line from evolving and getting a better ongoing product/market for, meaning: being something that customers want to use and keep buying. There can also just be a lot of “bloat” in older product lines, esp. when it comes to effective product management, marketing, and developers following old, slow, but comfortable processes.

And, sometimes, as you see at IBM, you just have to shut down old business in favor of building new ones. This means a top-line revenue hit, which means slowing or killing quarterly growth. As IBM has been demonstrating for 20 quarters, when you’re public, ain’t nobody got time for that. In theory, when private, you can choose that option.

As Brenon at 451 has noted, going private deals like these are growing much more than “corporate” acquisitions (like when Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, etc. buy a company to integrate into their product portfolio rather than optimize the company as discussed here). It doesn’t always work, but that “nearly 30%” return indicates that it works more than enough.

Link

PE tech acquisitions rising, while corporate deals slow

The dramatic surge in PE activity is primarily due to the ever-deepening pool of financial buyers. In the history of the industry, there have never been more tech-focused buyout shops that have had access to more capital, collectively, than right now. New firms have popped up while existing ones have put even more money to work in the tech industry, which is becoming even more ‘target rich’ as it ages. For instance, both Clearlake Capital and TA Associates announced as many deals in Q1 2017 as each of the firms would typically print in an entire year. Additionally, both Vista Equity Partners and Thoma Bravo averaged almost two transactions per month in Q1, if we include deals done by their portfolio companies as well.

From Brenon at 451, and with some charts too:


Link

Final prices for Dell Services and Software divestitures: $3bn & $2.4bn

On March 27, 2016, Dell entered into a definitive agreement with NTT Data International L.L.C. to sell substantially all of Dell Services for cash consideration of approximately $3.0 billion. On June 19, 2016, Dell entered into a definitive agreement with Francisco Partners and Elliot Management Corporation to sell substantially all of Dell Software Group for cash consideration of approximately $2.4 billion.

Link

At $3.7bn, AppDynamics sells to Cisco at 17.3x, estimated

Based on the S-1 filings from the business, a $3.7B price implies a 17.3x enterprise value/trailing twelve month revenue multiple, which is 41% higher than the next nearest acquisition, Salesforce/Demandware. There’s no comparable pricing event in the M&A market in the last 10 years.

And, from Simon at The Register:

The Borg’s plucked the company mere days before it was expected to float on the stock market, an event expected to raise around US$1.4bn for a portion of the company.

While AppDynamics could point to over 2,000 customers and nine-figure revenues, it also had rather a lot of red ink to deal with. That’s Cisco’s problem now, as it will make AppDynamics a software business unit in its internet of things and applications business.

Source: The Biggest M&A Multiple in Software History

TheNewStack: Gartner Purchase of Corporate Executive Board Would Address Changes in IT Advisory Market

Lawrence Hecht has some brief commentary on Gartner buying CEB for $2.6bn – Lawrence takes out the $700m in debt from the actual deal value of $3.3bn. I don’t really know CEB too well.

He also covered some recent analysis of the analyst industry, including the post I did on the topic and podcast at KEA on the idea with other analyst-types, both back in 2015.

All seethe official press release.

Here’s some share price performance, snipping out the time around the acquisition announcement (it goes up, of course):
screenshot-2017-01-17-19-07-24

Link

American Apparel sells for $103m, not including stores

I’m always amazed at how low IRL companies get valued. But: retail, manufactoring, and a history of funky management:

But fashion wasn’t the only thing to change; the retail business changed, too. The economic downturn was hard on the fashion industry as consumers cut back on spending. And brick-and-mortar stores have struggled as online retailers bite into their sales and target demographics. That can be especially harmful for brands like American Apparel, whose the business model is to open a bevy of stores and rely on foot traffic. “There are too many stores in too many places,” explained Cohen. “Everybody doing business in brick-and-mortar is migrating in some way, shape, or form to the internet. Everyone is seeing a chronic decline in the productivity of their real estate.”

It doesn’t include the stores:

All of this helps explain why the $88 million Gildan deal could be viewed as arguably the last great American Apparel marketing feat. Even with all its financial and legal woes, the company still attracted 12 bids. (Sources told Reuters that Amazon and Forever 21 were considering purchasing as well.) And while Gildan won’t be purchasing any of American Apparel’s 110 U.S. stores—which were also up for sale—the company was willing to pay nearly $90 million just for intellectual property and some equipment. That’s quite a feat given that the brand was built on the premise of selling such basic designs.

Still, that brand, tho.

Link

Autonomy quarter stuffing

When Autonomy was negotiating a sale to an end user, but couldn’t close the sale by quarter’s end, Egan would approach the resellers on or near the last day of the quarter, saying the deal was nearly done. Egan coaxed the resellers to buy Autonomy software by paying them hefty commissions. The resellers could then sell the software to a specified end user – but Autonomy maintained control of the deals and handled negotiations with the end user without the resellers’ aid. There’s no way these transactions could be revenue.

Link

The HPE hedging gambit

Some crisp HPE strategy coverage from Chris Evans at El Reg:

HPE is remaining part of the CSC and Micro Focus businesses by having a shareholding in the new organisations. It’s fascinating to think what this might mean going forward. It’s like neither business wants to fully commit to where future revenue for their business may lie. I say this because I can only assume that infrastructure sales will become a dwindling business as companies move to public cloud; it doesn’t seem to be enough that infrastructure alone will keep businesses buying on-site solutions.

And, a nice summing up of the HP master plan:

Effectively Meg Whitman is unravelling some of the bad decisions of the last few years, including the purchase of Autonomy and acquisition of EDS in 2008. There’s more focus on delivering infrastructure to clients, rather than moving revenue to services – remember HPE’s public cloud offering was also culled at the beginning of 2016.

The Register

EMC Documentum divested to OpenText for $1.6bn, 451

Good coverage from 451:

  • “maintenance contracts account for half [of OpenText’s] revenue, and 75% of revenue is recurring.”
  • “EMC ECD is made up of more than 20 acquired product sets, all of which provide support for unstructured data. This technology ranges from records and digital-asset management to e-discovery and beyond. The core platform was in the process of being re-architected over the past few years; it is still a complex and expensive system of record.”
  • The $1.6bn deal size is a 2.8x multiple.
  • “OpenText has now spent $2.4bn on five purchases in 2016 – both numbers are record highs for the company.”

Source: “OpenText does largest acquisition yet with the $1.6bn purchase of EMC’s Documentum.”

Now, eyes on Mulesoft for an exit

MuleSource Schwag - Cufflinks!

  • “The availability of published APIs means that a software developer can cobble together different mini-services already available—such as Google Maps meshed with Twilio (to add SMS messaging) along with other capabilities—to make something new and different. APIs, in short, let developers use other apps as building blocks for their own applications.”
  • Customers: “Greene highlighted some of Apigee’s more prominent customers, including Walgreens , AT&T , Bechtel, First Data, and Live Nation.”
  • “Mulesoft claims more than 1,000 business customers, including Coca-Cola , Unilever , and General Electric .”
  • “Mulesoft was valued at $1.5 billion after a $128 million funding round in May 2015. Greg Schott has said the company passed $100 million in revenue for its 2015 fiscal year and is on pace to double that amount this year.”
  • From Carl Lehmann’s July 2015 report on MuleSoft: $100m in 2014 bookings; “In Q1 2015, it reported it had 700 paying enterprise customers”

Source: Why Google Is Snapping Up This Startup for $625 Million