Year’s Best Exits—Top Massachusetts IPOs and M&As of 2007

First (and second and third) impressions are important. But it’s also nice to go out on a sweet note.

Yesterday, we brought you a list of Massachusetts’s top 10 venture deals for 2007: you might think of them as great entrances (although most were later- stage deals, so we’re straining a bit). Today we’re looking at the year’s greatest exits for Bay State firms—either through mergers & acquisitions or IPOs.

And there were some doozies. Like the $775 million Britain’s BUPA paid for Boston-based Health Dialog, or the $430 million Bristol-Myers Squibb squibbed out for Adnexus Therapeutics, almost on the eve of the Waltham company’s planned IPO.

Four of the top M&As were in biotech/pharmaceuticals/medicine, but only two of the top 10 IPOs came in that field (although one company on the list, Athenahealth, is an IT support services company for medical practices). Boston’s EnerNOC, which went public to the tune of nearly $92 million, was the only energy company on either list, despite the red hot nature of investment in that field.

The rest of the companies spanned a wide array of sectors, from data storage to wireless to business applications and even a media content company (TechTarget), which we at Xconomy are always glad to see.

By the way, there was one massive New England acquisition—Dell’s purchase of Nashua, NH-based network storage device maker Equallogic for $1.4 billion—that overshadowed all of the Massachusetts deals, and was in fact reported to be the largest all-cash acquisition of a venture-backed company in history. But it’s not included in our list today, which only covers the Bay State. The list also leaves out the spectacularly successful August IPO of EMC subsidiary VMware. While EMC is located in Hopkinton, MA, VMware’s headquarters remain in Palo Alto, CA.

If you can read a trend in all this, please let us know—but maybe all the stats mean is that good companies can be found in every field. So here are the lists, which include the firms’ names, their fields, who bought them in the case of M&As, and the deal value. Once again the data comes courtesy of Dow Jones VentureSource.


Top 10 Massachusetts M&As of 2007 (by purchase price)

Health Dialog (Boston): Decision support services. Acquired by BUPA (United Kingdom) — $775 Million

Adnexus Therapeutics (Waltham): Biotechnology. Acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb — $430 million

Domantis (Waltham): Biotechnology. Acquired by GlaxoSmithKline — $406 million

Hypnion (Lexington): Pharmaceuticals. Acquired by Eli Lilly — $315 million

Alantos Pharmaceuticals (Cambridge): Biotechnology. Acquired by Amgen — $300 million

VoiceSignal Technologies (Woburn): Connectivity and communications software. Acquired by Nuance Communications — $293 million

Acopia Networks (Lowell): Connectivity and communications software. Acquired by F5 Networks — $210 million

Spotfire (Somerville): Business applications software. Acquired by Tibco Software — $195 million

Interwise (Cambridge): Business applications software. Acquired by AT&T — $121 million

Archivas (Waltham): Database software. Acquired by Hitachi — $120 million


Top 10 Massachusetts IPOs of 2007 (by dollars raised)

Starent Networks (Tewksbury) — Wireless communications equipment — $108 million

Netezza (Framingham) — Data storage — $108 million

Constant Contact (Waltham) — IT business services — $93.3 million

EnerNOC (Boston) — Energy conservation products — $91.7 million

Athenahealth (Watertown) — Decision support services for medical practices — $90 million

TechTarget (Needham) — Media, content & information — $83.6 million (Editor’s note: we applaud all media-content company IPOs, but feel they are all undervalued)

Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals (Cambridge) — Biotechnology — $70 million

BladeLogic (Lexington) — Connectivity and communications software — $67 million

Virtusa (Westborough) — IT consulting — $61.6 million

Sirtris Pharmaceuticals (Cambridge) — Biotechnology — $60 million

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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  • The CEOs of 2 of the top 5 IPO companies are speaking on this very topic at an MIT Enterprise Forum event on the evening of January 24th. It’s called “Are You Ready For IPO?” and full details and online registration can be found at