Mgmt World: Tibco's Oh-So-Quiet OSS Acquisition

NICE -- Management World 2010 -- Has an M&A deal ever been kept so quiet? Did anyone notice that Kabira Technologies Inc. was swallowed a few weeks back by Tibco Software Inc. (Nasdaq: TIBX)?

Neither party publicly announced it: The only public indication a deal has been done is the message on the Kabira Website that states the company is "now a part of Tibco Software."

And it's not as if it's an insignificant move. Kabira has more than 100 carrier customers for its transaction middleware platform, including big names like AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Orange (NYSE: FTE), and VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP). The company also claims to have policy management and service fulfillment software tools, but there has been little evidence of these in the market.

So why so shy?

The reason, it seems, is that Kabira was close to going under, and its investors were no longer funding the company. One industry source says Kabira was effectively given away -- "term sheet" acquisition documents were being supplied to prospective buyers with a price of $0.

Whoever took the company on, though, had to assume its small level of debt and its operations costs, but potential bidders were given only a few days to decide if they were interested. Tibco, it seems, was more interested than anyone else and, according to sources, is now laying off the majority of Kabira's staff.

Neither Tibco nor Kabira had stands here on the show floor in Nice, but Kabira had a speaker, director of technical sales Arnaud Chevalier, at the show (so we tracked him down).

Chevalier says he doesn't know about any layoffs, and that he can't comment on whether the company was given away for nothing because he "doesn't know anything about that." [Ed. note: Chevalier did, however, concede, "Thank heaven for little girls."] The Kabira/Tibco man adds that the company will continue to focus on the telecom space, and is, in fact, part of Tibco's renewed effort to address telecom sector opportunities.

Tibco did, indeed, recently announce a global partnership with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to address "operator challenges in telco markets," a move that involves the integration of Tibco's enterprise software with Huawei's BSS solution, so there does appear to be evidence of some market action on Tibco's part. In addition, the company recently announced a deal with Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA), which will use the vendor's software to build a "real-time, event-driven order management platform."

Tibco had not returned Light Reading's calls as this article was published.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

maggieH 12/5/2012 | 4:28:33 PM
re: Mgmt World: Tibco's Oh-So-Quiet OSS Acquisition

I was an early investor in Kabira; it was called Softwire.  The acquisition was so quiet that I had to find out about it online when I was checking in with Kabira's website as i occasionally do.  I invested 12 years ago.  Apparently after years of watching a very positive, upbeat website I am now finding that Kabira was "not doing so well" and Tibco is paying off the "small debt" but none of the investors.  And what did the CEO of Kabira walk away with as his golden parachute???  Kabira had a few names of its investors but didn't even keep records of who gave them money!  After days of calling Tibco I finally got an attorney to call me back.  And darn if Tibco's stock didn't go up 33% since they acquired Kabira!



js_nsn 12/5/2012 | 4:26:23 PM
re: Mgmt World: Tibco's Oh-So-Quiet OSS Acquisition

Financial report - Kabira acquisition details start at page 9: http://ir.10kwizard.com/download.php?format=PDF&ipage=7047694&source=1323

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