Return to normality

The biggest deal of the month saw technology and manufacturing giant Emerson Electric buy data centre systems management firm Avocent for $1.2 billion. Avocent will become part of Emerson’s Network Power business, with its software used to expand the company’s data centre offerings alongside its existing power and cooling products. The company also comes with high-value OEM customers including Dell and IBM.

The news reportedly troubled Avocent resellers unsure how its products will fit in Emerson’s existing business lines. However, Emerson CEO David Farr offered some clues: “Combining Avocent’s technologies, relationships and installed base with Emerson’s power and cooling presence allows us to offer a more compelling solution to our data centre customers’ most pressing challenge – energy efficiency.”

Avocent’s CEO, Mike Borman, said the company’s software would complement Emerson’s specialisation in physical infrastructure.

Elsewhere in the data centre space, business service management tools vendor BMC acquired Tideway Systems, a company that was originally founded in the UK before setting up headquarters in the US. Tideway’s infrastructure discovery software allows organisations to keep tabs on the precise details of their IT estate, and will support BMC’s vision of Dynamic BSM, the company said. For more details of that vision, see Company Analysis (page 45). The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Also in October, networking equipment manufacturer Cisco announced its intention to acquire software-as-a-service web security firm ScanSafe (another company to have been founded in the UK), further augmenting the company’s cloud security portfolio. Cisco will pay $183 million for the security service vendor, which filters web requests for malicious data. The company has said it may integrate the technology into hybrid cloud and on-premise offerings, built on the back of its existing IronPort web security appliance.

Cisco has been in an acquisitive mood of late. However, as this issue went to press, a cloud of doubt was gathering over its proposed $3.3 billion acquisition of videoconferencing giant Tandberg after a group of the Swedish company’s shareholders called for a higher offer.

Meanwhile, France-based product lifecycle management (PLM) software vendor Dassault Systèmes agreed to acquire IBM’s PLM software assets for $600 million. The deal includes IBM’s software portfolio, customer contacts and sales and support operations, but Dassault will continue to deploy and support PLM projects in partnership with IBM. “IBM is evolving its partnership with Dassault Systèmes to better align our mutual strengths and better address our clients’ PLM needs,” said IBM’s general manager of the global industrial sector, Tom Hawk.

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