Ranadive, CEO of Tibco, has announced that Tibco board would of course consider offers.
And after the recent news about Business Objects and BEA, such offers may seen inevitable. Jeff Schenider of MomentumSI for instance argues that we have entered a period of inevitable consolidation. While I certainly think we are already in an era of big-4 and the rest, that does not necessarily mean that every ‘small’ software company (and remember these are only small in comparison to the giants) must be bought.
The Reuter’s piece covering Ranadive’s statement comments that “Analysts have said suitors for Tibco could include IBM (NYSE: IBM), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HP), Sun Microsystems (NSDQ: JAVA), and EMC (NYSE: EMC).”
I personally wonder. On the one hand you could ask why not? Tibco has excellent top tier customers who use its long standing messaging products for core business processing. It also has some of the best SOA products in its BusinessWorks portfolio – combining enterprise grade reliability with good tooling. However, I think you need to look a little deeper about the two acquisitions which sparked this consolidation talk:
BusinessObjects is in what should to be the hot growth area over the coming years – business intelligence – and thus is perfect for the vendors who want to find a new thing to sell to their customer base or a new way to justify their existing product line (by adding a BI layer on top). Business Objects should have been a target for IBM and Oracle as well as SAP.
BEA was generally believed to be a long term target for Oracle – BEA had after all used the application server wave to capture business from so many of Oracle’s enterprise customers. Oracle first took quite a while to take application servers seriously and then took quite a while to become competitive. Buying BEA finishes the job off quickly and gets back ownership of all those straying BEA customers.
With Tibco, there is no obvious buyer (as Oracle was with BEA) nor is there a neat fit into one of the majors (as BusinessObjects was with SAP). Of the 4 listed by the “Analysts” quoted above, only IBM would make any sense. And Oracle, except that it is busy trying to eat BEA. Therefore, I don’t see Tibco being bought except unless it is Skyped (bought for over the odds to avoid somebody else buying it).