May 31, 2012, 2:35 PM ET
Should BMC sell itself to the highest bidder, as Elliott Management, owner of 6.5% of the company’s stock, is demanding, CIOs should hope the software vendor ends up being acquired by Dell. In a letter, Elliott listed IBM, Oracle, H-P, Dell, Cisco EMC, CA, and Symantec as potential suitors, and all of those companies are logical potential partners for one reason or another.
But most of those other companies — IBM and CA jump to mind — already have products that overlap with BMC’s core offerings, which help customers manage the integration of applications, particularly in the hybrid on-premise-cloud environments. IBM, for example, offers Tivoli, and CA produces a range of similar products. Since Dell doesn’t have an offering of its own, it is perhaps the most likely to support BMC’s products. It’s also a good time for Dell to make a play for a top service management vendor like BMC because it is looking to expand its cloud computing software portfolio. Dell already uses BMC’s technology to help customers manage cloud environments. And Dell has acquired the likes of software-as-a-service integration provider Boomi, as well as Clerity Solutions and Make Technologies to modernize applications for the cloud. BMC could provide several more business service management capabilities in one shot. That is, if Dell doesn’t decide to buy Quest Software first, a scenario that has been reported on elsewhere.
Dell’s acquisition track record has been solid as well. For example, Wyse customers told CIO Journal they didn’t notice any difference in their service since Dell acquired the remote application management firm earlier this year. Analysts at Forrester, Gartner and other research firms said they’ve heard few noteworthy complaints from customers of companies acquired by Dell.
Dell’s history of smooth acquisitions should be reassuring for CIOs and other technology buyers, who are all too-often an afterthought when it comes to M&A and major strategic developments—such as yesterday’s executive shuffle at H-P.
One potential speed bump: Dell would have to figure out how to integrate BMC with systems management appliances it already owns through its 2010 acquisition of Kace. But those appliances seem less important today with more and more companies moving to the cloud.
Dell might not be a perfect acquirer—but for BMC’s customers, it’s probably the best choice.