HP Exec Takes Over as Carbonite CEO; j2 Tries to Take Over Carbonite

New chief executive announced one day after Carbonite received an unsolicited, hostile $366.4 million bid from j2 Global.

New Carbonite CEO

Carbonite, one of the most highly visible of the consumer cloud storage providers thanks to a large-scale television advertising campaign, has a new CEO. He's Mohamad Ali, former Chief Strategy Officer at Hewlett-Packard.

Ali was announced on Dec. 4, one day after Boston-based Carbonite received an unsolicited, hostile $366.4 million bid ($15 per share, a 27 percent premium over Carbonite's closing price of $11.76 that day) from j2 Global.

Investors obviously relished the news because Carbonite's share price zoomed up 24 percent following the announcement. There was no news Dec. 9 after that disclosure last week as the board mulls over the offer. The stock was selling for $14.25 on Dec. 9.

Ali, who is taking over for longtime CEO and Chairman David Friend, contends that Carbonite—a provider of cloud-based backup and disaster-recovery services to small and medium businesses—hasn't yet reached its full potential in the market.

Because Carbonite touches hot markets involving the cloud, data security, big data storage and SMBs, Ali sees opportunity in selling its wares to thousands of these businesses globally that require automated, secure cloud storage and data analytics, but also don't have huge IT staffs.

Carbonite brought in $107.2 million in revenue last year, finishing 2013 $10.6 million in the red. Friend told J2 Global Chairman Richard Ressler, who then told the Boston Business Journal, that Carbonite's board wanted to "stay the course" but was open at the right price to consider a sale of the company.

This is Los Angeles-based j2 Global's second try at acquiring the data storage firm; it had offered to buy Carbonite for $10.50 per share in 2012. The current offer price is 43 percent higher than j2's first offer price for Carbonite. Carbonite's board turned down the offer, confident that its own strategies would win out in the marketplace.

However, Carbonite, along with other cloud storage providers, such as Amazon, i365, Box, Dropbox and EMC Mozy, have been treading water and generally losing money in trying to gain share in the market, which churns users in and out with regularity.

Ali has been a big-IT company man for some time. Prior to HP, he spent several years at IBM working on M&A aspects of companies such as Cognos, Ascential and SPSS.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...