IT Acquisitions All Around: BladeLogic, Teragram, and Maybe Even Iomega?

3/18/08

Looks like somebody misread the memo about Evacuation Day and decided yesterday was Acquisition Day here in the greater Boston area. (Although Axcelis Technologies made no such mistake.)

First, there was the whopping $800 million that Lexington, MA’s BladeLogic (NASDAQ: BLOG) announced it will make in a buy-out by Houston, TX-based BMC Software (NYSE: BMC). BladeLogic, a data-center-automation firm, is no stranger to big exits; its $67 million IPO was the eighth biggest debut for a Massachusetts firm last year. And if this year’s acquisitions wind up looking anything like last year’s, BladeLogic could handily take first place in that category. “Organizations around the world will spend more than $140 billion dollars this year running data centers,” BMC CEO Bob Beauchamp in an announcement describing the $28-per-share deal. “Automation is the only way IT can bring this spending under control and still meet the reliability and time-to-market requirements of their businesses.”

Another local software firm, Teragram of Cambridge, MA, was also acquired yesterday, by Cary, NC, business-intelligence giant SAS. Founded in 1997 by two scientists from Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories and now 40 people strong, Teragram makes a host of natural language processing tools for the likes of CNN, Forbes.com, NYTimes Digital, Sony, WashingtonPost.com, Wolters Kluwer, the World Bank, and Yahoo. SAS plans to integrate Teragram’s technology with its own text mining and business intelligence tools. The firms did not disclose terms of the deal, except to say that Teragram will operate as an SAS company.

Hopkinton, MA-based EMC (NYSE: EMC), meanwhile, got a second chance to add another acquisition of its own. San Diego-based Iomega (NYSE: IOM) announced yesterday that it’s now prepared to enter into discussions with EMC after the Massachusetts firm sweetened its offer for the California storage firm to about $205.5 million. Iomega last week rejected EMC’s initial $180 million offer as too low and not any better than a stock-purchase agreement that Iomega had made late last year with companies registered in China and the Cayman Islands. Iomega said in a press release that the new offer “would reasonably constitute a superior proposal,” though it cautioned that EMC’s acquisition proposal was not binding and subject to due diligence. For EMC’s part, says director of corporate public relations Dave Farmer, “we’re encouraged by Iomega’s decision to move ahead with EMC discussions, and look forward to next steps.”

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