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BMC Software To Acquire BladeLogic For $800 Million

BladeLogic offers software that automates the management, control, and enforcement of configuration changes to servers and other hardware typically found in corporate IT environments.
In a sign that the market for tools that help businesses cut tech payrolls is getting hotter as the economy cools, BMC Software said Monday that it's agreed to buy data center automation specialist BladeLogic for about $800 million.

News of the deal, which values BladeLogic at $28 per share, drove BladeLogic's stock price up more than 15% to $27.30 in early trading Monday. BMC shares were down about 8% to $31.10.

BladeLogic offers software that automates the management, control, and enforcement of configuration changes to servers and other hardware typically found in corporate IT environments. Its roster of blue chip customers includes Merrill Lynch, General Dynamics, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The market for such tools is hot -- in part because they allow companies to get by with fewer IT workers.

BladeLogic's revenue in its most recent quarter increased 68% year-over-year to $21.5 million, on a net loss of $395,000. The company's full year revenue in 2007 rose 105% to $62.7 million, on a net loss of $174,000.

BMC officials said BladeLogic products, such as Operations Manager, Applications Release Manager, and Orchestration Manager, complement BMC's own line of data center automation tools. "It is a natural and very significant step in our vision of business service management," said BMC president and CEO Bob Beauchamp, in a statement.

BMC estimates that businesses and governments around the world will spend $140 billion this year running and managing their data centers.

Tech vendors are willing to pay big to capture more of that spending. BMC last year bought out RealOps, a developer of software for automating IT processes, for an undisclosed sum. Also in 2007, Hewlett-Packard acquired Opsware for $1.6 billion, on the heels of a $4.5 billion purchase of Mercury Interactive in 2006 and a $425 million buyout of Peregrine Systems in 2005.

BMC's $800 million deal for BladeLogic represents a pricey, eight-times revenue multiple, based on projected sales in calendar 2008.

Some analysts say it's worth it. "While the deal looks expensive for BMC, we think [BladeLogic] has some very large $5-10M deals in their pipeline, so we understand their thought process on the valuation," said Avian Securities analyst Jeff Gaggin, in a research note Monday.

The agreement remains subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions. BladeLogic's board has unanimously recommended that its shareholders accept BMC's offer, according to BMC.