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Tibco Sale Rumors Reemerge

Tibco Software seeks a buyer, The Wall Street Journal reports, rekindling speculation about the integration and analytics vendor's future.

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Tibco Software has been approaching potential buyers, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources said to be familiar with the matter.

This isn't the first time the data-integration and data-visualization vendor has been the subject of sale rumors. In 2011 it was widely reported that HP took a run at Tibco but that talks broke down over terms. This time around CNBC analysts Herb Greenberg speculated Wednesday that HP and IBM are potential suitors.

Tibco's middleware, complex event processing technology, Tibco Spotfire analytics and data-visualization software, and recently acquired Jaspersoft data-management and business intelligence unit would all fill gaps in HP's portfolio. There would be many overlaps in a deal with a direct Tibco competitor like IBM or Oracle, but Spotfire's technology might fit into either company's big data initiatives.

[Want more on Tibco's reorg in the wake of its April BI acquisition? Read Tibco Shakes Up BI Market With Jaspersoft Buy.]

"We have long been believers in the strategic value of Tibco, and would not be surprised to see it become part of a larger organization," wrote Wells Fargo equity analyst Jason Maynard in a research note published Wednesday. The company would likely fetch four to five times expected annual revenue of just over $1 billion, Maynard wrote.

Tibco CEO Vivek Ranadive
Tibco CEO Vivek Ranadivé

Tibco hit a rough patch in recent quarters, with Spotfire falling short of expected sales and failing to keep pace with fast-growing rivals including Tableau Software and QlikTech. Tibco CEO Vivek Ranadivé acknowledged in a June interview that the company "got complacent" with Spotfire, according to WSJ, but he vowed that the company was taking steps to revamp its management structure, sales strategy, and certain products. Ranadivé is spearheading the latest sale talks, according to WSJ sources.

Tibco's peers in the data-integration and data-management arena include Software AG and Progress Software. Here, too, a deal would likely bring more overlaps than synergies. SAP was mentioned in the last round of Tibco sale rumors, but given SAP's organic investments in visualization and last year's acquisition of analytics vendor KXEN, a deal is less likely today.

Tibco has a who's who list of customers, including Con-Way, Delta Airlines, DHL, E. & J. Gallo Winery, Merck, Pirelli, Pfizer, T-Mobile, Union Pacific Railroad, and Vodaphone. The customer base and license revenue stream alone would be of value to the right investor.

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Doug Henschen is Executive Editor of InformationWeek, where he covers the intersection of enterprise applications with information management, business intelligence, big data and analytics. He previously served as editor in chief of Intelligent Enterprise, editor in chief of ... View Full Bio

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Jeff Jerome
Jeff Jerome,
User Rank: Ninja
8/12/2014 | 10:53:17 PM
Re: It's official....
The rumor I had heard was SAP but it quickly fizzled.  It appears that technology spend has slowed perhaps to hold the balance sheet but there is movement in the execuvitve suites.
D. Henschen
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
8/7/2014 | 2:31:36 PM
It's official....
The official comment from Tibco is "We have no comment at this time in response to the story yesterday."
D. Henschen
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
8/7/2014 | 9:28:13 AM
No word from TIBCO.... Yet
InformationWeek emailed multiple TIBCO contacts requesting comment on the sale rumors, but at press time the company had not responded to that request. 
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