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Technology Mergers and Acquisitions

Barracuda-Intronis Must Learn from SolarWinds N-able

As Barracuda acquires Intronis for $65 million, some channel partners may worry about Barracuda’s ability to maintain the Intronis focus on managed services providers (MSPs). My advice: Barracuda should closely study SolarWinds‘ May 2013 buyout of N-able.

In some ways, the deals are strikingly similar. When SolarWinds purchased N-able, SolarWinds had little to no relationship with MSPs. Moreover, SolarWinds issued an earnings report that upset investors the very day of the N-able buyout. A similar scenario unfolded today, when Barracuda’s stock dropped roughly 20 percent on weak earnings — the very day the Intronis buyout announcement occurred.

So, what should Barracuda do? Follow the lead of SolarWinds CEO Kevin Thompson. Instead of force-fitting the SolarWinds business model on N-able, Thompson was hands-off — allowing N-able GM JP Jauvin and Senior VP of Sales Mike Cullen to drive N-able’s strategic direction and day-to-day execution. Moreover, Thompson attended N-able’s 2013 partner conference — assuring MSPs that SolarWinds would not screw up the N-able buyout.

Fast forward to present day, and the SolarWinds N-able deal is arguably one of the most successful MSP-centric software buyouts to date. Instead of derailing N-able, SolarWinds managed to accelerate N-able’s business with additional help desk and management tools. More recently, a PSA-like add-on for N-able has emerged.

Now, apply that lesson to the Barracuda-Intronis deal. In the weeks and months ahead, all eyes will be on Intronis Channel Chief Neal Bradbury. Will Barracuda give Bradbury the marketing, sales and corporate support he needs to keep driving Intronis success in the channel? During a call with ChannelE2E, Bradbury assured MSPs that he remains in place and looking forward to more growth.

Update: It’s a safe bet Barracuda will learn from the SolarWinds N-able combo. I just noticed that SolarWinds CEO Kevin Thompson is on Barracuda’s Board. Smart. Very smart.

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