Some Recent Cloud Computing Acquisitions
As an industry matures, consolidation occurs and some prominent players emerge. With big companies already staking their claims in this space – a phenomenon which I had argued differentiated the cloud computing fervor from the dotcom bubble (See: Are Cloud Computing Stocks Overvalued?) – it was only time that the bigger fish started swallowing the small ones (See: Is Consolidation Coming to Cloud Computing?). While startups are always on the acquiring companies’ radars (See: Acquisitions of Cloud Computing Startups Speed Up), some mid-size companies are also attracting considerable interest. This article features two such recent deals.
SAP – SuccessFactors
In an effort to combat its rival Oracle’s moves in the cloud computing space (See: Oracle Acquires RightNow Technologies for $1.5 Billion and Oracle Announces Oracle OpenWorld San Francisco 2011 Keynote Lineup), German business software maker SAP recently announced the acquisition of California-based web services company SuccessFactors for a whopping $3.4 billion in cash.
Although some analysts described the price, a 52% premium on its market value, as high, many felt that the limited number of similar-sized targets and SAP’s intent to compete with Oracle and Salesforce.com made the acquisition justified. SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott justified the acquisition in as many words. “We’re going to remain an organic growth company primarily, but where there is an opportunity, a crown jewel in the market like SuccessFactors, and where it can help us become the cloud powerhouse we want to be, you make the move,” he said.
SuccessFactors was founded in 2001 and claims more than 3,500 customers with more than 15 million subscribers in 168 countries. It specializes in HR applications and the SAP’s purchase valued the company at $40 a share, a considerable increase from the $10 it debuted at a decade ago.
IBM – DemandTec
Last month IBM announced the acquisition of retail analytics company DemandTec for $440 million in cash, a 57% premium over the market price. DemandTec’s cloud-based applications help retailers predict make business decisions like predicting supply and demand, and will become part of IBM’s Smarter Commerce portfolio. IBM estimates a $20 billion market in this space.
“IBM Smarter Commerce is redefining how brands buy, market, sell, and service their customers in ways that their customers want. Bringing science to the art of pricing and promotion is a big part of this strategy, and the combination of DemandTec and IBM will help marketing and sales executives in retail and other industries drive more revenue and increase profitability,” said Craig Hayman, general manager for industry solutions at IBM.
“DemandTec has unprecedented capability to improve customers’ price and promotion tactics on a standalone basis and connect retailers and manufacturers for collaborative planning through the cloud. IBM is the only provider of price and promotion offerings within a rich solution set that supports companies’ buy, market, sell, and service processes,” said Dan Fishback, CEO and president of DemandTec.
DemandTec marks IBM’s third data analytics acquisition in 2011. Last summer it bought risk analytics companies Algorithmics for $387 million and i2 for an undisclosed amount.
By Souya Biswas