Tibco CEO says more companies will follow Dell and go private

Tibco chief executive Vivek Ranadive believes more technology companies will follow the lead of Dell and the company he founded in 1997 by delisting from the markets and going private.

At the end of September it was announced Vista Equity Partners would be acquiring the business intelligence software and middleware vendor in a deal worth around $4.3 billion, a transaction Tibco CTO Matt Quinn was expecting to be finalised this quarter subject to stakeholder and regulatory approval.

Speaking candidly to CIO UK at the company's TIBCONOW conference in San Francisco almost year to the day after Michael Dell's buy-back of Dell for $24.9 billion, Ranadive said going private was an attractive option.

"I think there will be a large number of companies who will think answering to the Street is too much of a hassle and will decide to go private," Ranadive said. "I see this as an increasing trend.

"The whole philosophy is not to think about the short term and focus on having a highly profitable long-term business.

"We are a highly-profitable business with lots of customers, and we can overcome some of our biggest challenges by going private again. By going private we can stay focused on value creation. The focus has gotten very short term here in the US. It's better for a company like ours which can get distracted.

"And it could happen across industry. Our capital markets have a hole in them which needs to be addressed."

The Operating Principal of Vista Equity Partners, Martin Taylor, spoke to Tibco customers on November 3 about his excitement for its impending relationship with Tibco.

"All we invest in is enterprise software and data," the former Microsoft Head of Strategy and Chief of Staff to Steve Ballmer said.

"It gives us an ability to aggregate the great ideas we have in our portfolio of around 70 companies.

"By being a private company we can build new products on a multi-year approach and strategy," he said.

Tibco CTO Matt Quinn also said that he was excited by going private.

He said: "There are a number of companies in the Vista portfolio that can help us as an organisation. We will benefit from those; that outside perspective is what companies need.

"Private provides you with the leeway you don't have in a public setting. It lets us do some unique things. We will be able to focus predominantly on what's best for the customer.

"I was with Tibco for the IPO in 1999 so it's interesting to have gone through the process on either side."

Positive sentiments were expressed by two Tibco customers at the event who were glad one of their technology providers was "not being taken over by IBM or SAP".

On July 14 this year, Tibco rang the opening bell for the NASDAQ in Times Square to commemorate being on the listing for 15 years.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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