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Test & Measurement

Private Equity Firm to Buy Empirix

Private equity firm Thoma Bravo is adding to its growing stockpile of communications applications and Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) assets with the acquisition of test and measurement specialist Empirix, best known for its VoIP monitoring tools, for an undisclosed sum.

Thoma Bravo has been on something of a SPIT spree during the past few years, acquiring a number of specialist vendors, including OSS vendor InfoVista, security specialist Blue Coat Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BCSI), analytics platform developer Network Instruments and most recently mobile and Internet monitoring platform vendor Keynote Systems Inc. for $395 million. (See Thoma Bravo Completes Take-Private Acquisition of Keynote, PE Firm Takes Control of InfoVista and Blue Coat to Be Acquired.)

Now it is snapping up IP system monitoring and analytics expert Empirix Inc. , which, according to the private equity firm, increased its 2012 revenues by 22 percent year-on-year on the back of a number of deals with major mobile operators. The deal is expected to close by November.

And Thoma Bravo isn't stopping there, noting in today's announcement that it intends to expand Empirix's business through "strategic acquisition opportunities."

Why this matters
The ability to manage, monitor, and analyze IP-based data networks is a top priority for service providers of all types now, including mobile operators that are dealing with growing volumes of data traffic as they launch 4G LTE services.

Thoma Bravo clearly believes there's money to be made not only from the individual SPIT businesses in which it is investing, but also from building a portfolio of related assets that could cooperate and offer compelling packages of service assurance, analytics, and test and measurement capabilities.

What's interesting is that a private equity firm, rather than an IT giant, systems integrator, or network systems supplier, is behind this clearly very targeted acquisition strategy. Does Thoma Bravo know something that others don't?

Light Reading has been saying for a long time now that "SPIT Is IT" -- and it seems that Thoma Bravo agrees. (See The SPIT Manifesto 2.0.)

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

[email protected] 10/9/2013 | 10:41:04 AM
Thoma Bravo -- bravo! We like to see a company that has faith in the growth potential of the Service Provider IT (SPIT) sector and that's quite a collection of companies it has amassed. A combination of Infovista's managemnt tools, Empirix IP monitoring for VoLTE traffic and security apps could be quite a compelling package for 4G mobile operators. 
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