Katt Scratches the Acquisition Fever

By Spencer F. Katt  |  Posted 2003-02-03

With the holiday shopping season far behind and the avalanche of bills now straining the average consumers wallet, the rumor mill is churning furiously with tales of potential acquisitions in the tech industry.

Spencer heard BMC may be looking to buy identity management software maker Business Layers, whose products offer views into how network/system/application outages or performance degradation affects business applications. BMC is seeking such service views, according to a Katt crony, and may have tried to buy Managed Objects for that functionality. But Managed Objects didnt want to be acquired, the crony claimed, and may have priced itself beyond BMCs interest.

Even though the number of publicly traded software companies has dropped from about 400 at the peak of the bubble to around 100, it seems most of the Furballs industry friends have an acquisition rumor to spread. The potential suitors in the gossipy tales are always among the usual cash-wielding suspects: IBM, BMC, EMC, Veritas, Mercury Interactive and Microsoft.

The Kitty noted that Computer Associates, a company with a voracious acquisition history, hasnt popped up in the current crop of rumors. Sure enough, the Kittys instincts were correct. During CAs recent earnings call, head honcho Sanjay Kumar said, "We are clearly focused on organic growth." Kumar also said that although CA is not aggressively looking for big deals, it still evaluates opportunities and that the company wouldnt turn down something that made sense or filled a hole or would be easy to integrate.

Another tipster said the management software market is primed for consolidation, and Compuware has been rumored to be a prime acquisition target. If true, Spencer cant envision any of the big four—IBMs Tivoli unit, BMC, CA or Hewlett-Packard—being in the market for the software provider.

A Tabby tattler claimed that the relationship between NetIQ and Microsoft may be paying off more for the systems management company than the software vendor. NetIQs technology provides the foundation for deployment of MOM (Microsoft Operations Manager), and, according to the tipster, NetIQs AppManager product may be outselling MOM. Even as the company enjoys this win-win scenario, the tattler claimed NetIQ is looking to make acquisitions and hopes to add more security products to its portfolio.

Spencer has a final purchasing rumor hed like to circulate. Next time you bump into him at a bar during a trade show, youre buying!

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