Friday, April 24, 2009

SumTotal agrees to buyout by PE firm Accel-KKR

With a quick 17% premium to Vista Equity Partners $3.25 per share bid, Accel-KKR seems to have swooped in and won the day, the 30-day shopping clause notwithstanding. The entire HCM/Talent Management space must be breathing giant sigh of relief as this perpetually under-performing company looks to finally be removed from public scrutiny. For SumTotal shareholders, I imagine champagne corks are popping, since their prospects if the company stayed public looked very ugly.

For SumTotal customers though, it is entirely too early to tell what the effects of the deal will be, good or bad. Change will be afoot though. Having done some research, I can tell you that there is a world of difference between rookie PE firm Bedford Funding (who bought out Authoria last year) and Accel-KKR. Accel-KKR is joint venture of two major PE firms that have deep experience and cash resources to drive a strategic vision with this purchase. Who knows what that vision is at this point? But, I have a suspicion that we'll see more of Accel-KKR in HCM/Talent before the year is up.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Oracle steps in...

Well, it looks like I called one aspect of the potential IBM/Sun deal dead right in my March 19 post below. Namely, that the very idea would drive Larry Ellison mad. The concept of IBM, or anyone else for that matter, controlling Java is simply something Ellison could not allow. Certainly, Oracle could behave badly (i.e. like IBM) with this acquisition, but their past behavior suggests that they will likely stay committed to open standards in technology.

Financially, Sun fits very well with Oracle, where long term recurring margin is king. With luck, the hardware business will see an upswing in innovation. Java, at least, seems safe for now. Larry Ellison the good guy? Who would have thought?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sun deal dead for now...thankfully

Thankfully, IBM has withdrawn its offer for Sun. I hope this is permanent, but this deal could get resurrected. Let's hope some Van Helsing-type individual has driven an irremovable stake in the heart of this combination.