"The deal makes for an interesting pairing. BEA and Microsoft both compete, to some degree, in the infrastructure and application server arenas. At the same time, by acquiring Crossgain, a company expected to deliver XML-based applications, BEA could also gain a leg up on other head-to-head infrastructure competitors, including Oracle Corp. and IBM."
Hmm, how much do you sell a company that, to the limit of my scant knowledge, didn’t even release a public product and sign up any customers? Their life was hard, so now at least some of their work might make it into a commercial product. BEA had already done several acquisitions in the past, starting with Novell’s Tuxedo. In fact WebLogic was one of them and apparently now makes the most of their sales.
Next question, is BEA a potential acquisition target for one the big ones (Microsoft, IBM, Sun, Oracle, pretty much in that order in my very biased point of view)? Even close to their 52-week low, they still have a $9B market cap, which is not pocket change by anyone’s standard. If slower growth were to divide that market cap again by 4 in the next 12 to 24 months (because a 200 P/E ratio is quite demanding), someone might get interested, provided their market share and positioning still justify it.
Microsoft made only a few large software acquisitions in the last years (except for Visio and Great Plains, the big money went to broadband, and when I say went, I mean it’s gone). IBM might not have a new name for it, but they have been investing in middleware for years, play Embrace & Integrate with Microsoft (that’s what Open Source means for them, in case you were wondering), and spat $3.5B for Lotus, $0.7B for Tivoli, and $1B for Informix (but didn’t buy Siebel).
BEA was founded by former Sun employees. I guess it’s cheap to think they rejoice to acquire a company founded by former Microsoft employees. Is M&A the corporate form of S&M? That might be too strong, so let’s say M&A is about B&D!
By the way, did I mention Google has "breaking news" links? Am I the last to notice? I would show you but E-Quill is down for an upgrade, so try it for yourself and look for the News top link (but I’m sure it’s time sensitive, so it might not work a few days from now).
03/02/02 update: Crossgain vs. Microsoft: ‘Mooning the Giant’ (one year ago),