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Citrix Acquired By Elliott, Vista Equity; Citrix and Tibco to Merge

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Citrix Systems is being acquired by Evergreen Coast Capital (an affiliate of Elliott Management) and Vista Equity Partners for $16.5 billion including debt, the software company and private equity firms confirmed this morning. Rumors about the deal had swirled for several weeks.

This is technology M&A deal number 131 that ChannelE2E has covered so far in 2022. See more than 1,000 technology M&A deals for 2022, 2021, and 2020 listed here.

The deal will merge Citrix with Tibco, a data analytics software business that Vista Equity already owns. The combined business will serve 400,000 customers, including 98 percent of the Fortune 500, with 100 million users in 100 countries, the buyers said.

Citrix has been pivoting toward cloud subscription services -- with mixed results. Q4 of 2021 financial results, disclosed tody, included:

  • Revenue of $851 million, up 5 percent from Q4 of 2020.
  • Net income of $103 million, down from $112 million in Q4 of 2020.

2021 Recap: Citrix Systems Buyout Rumors, CEO Change, Layoffs

Bob Calderoni, interim CEO, Citrix
Bob Calderoni, interim CEO, Citrix

Vista has been scouring the software market for large acquisitions that it can tuck into the Tibco business. One recent plan -- acquiring robotic process automation(RPA) software company Blue Prism and merging it into Tibco -- fell apart when SS&C outbid Vista Equity for Blue Prism.

Meanwhile, Citrix buyout rumors have swirled since September 2021, and they have grown louder since a CEO change in October 2021 and Citrix layoffs in November 2021.

Chairman Bob Calderoni has been running Citrix as interim CEO and president since October 2021. Among the challenges Calderoni must address: The company’s desktop as a service (DaaS) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) are under pressure from public clouds such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform.

More recently, Citrix has faced pressure from Microsoft Windows 365, ChannelE2E believes. Indeed, thousands of MSPs have been flocking toward Microsoft’s home-grown DaaS software stack. In many cases, those MSPs are working with Nerdio to navigate Microsoft Windows 365 business opportunities.

Citrix has also relied too heavily on a direct sales force, and too little on distribution partners, Calderoni told Wall Street analysts during an earnings call in November 2021, Reuters notes.

Citrix Systems Acquired: Executive Perspectives

Fast forward to January 31, 2021. Citrix has now confirmed the company sale. Multiple executives involved in the deal offered prepared comments about the Citrix buyout and expected merger with Tibco.

For starters, Interim Citrix CEO Bob Calderoni said:

“Over the past three decades, Citrix has established itself as the clear leader in secure hybrid work. Our market-leading platform provides secure and reliable access to all of the applications and information employees need to get work done, wherever it needs to get done. By combining with TIBCO, we will expand this platform and the outcomes our customers achieve. Together with TIBCO, we will be able to operate with greater scale and provide a larger customer base with a broader range of solutions to accelerate their digital transformations and enable them to deliver the future of hybrid work. As a private company, we will have increased financial and strategic flexibility to invest in high-growth opportunities, such as DaaS, and accelerate its ongoing cloud transition.

Today’s announcement is the culmination of a strategic review process conducted over five months, including extensive outreach to both potential financial and strategic buyers. This transaction provides our shareholders with significant immediate cash value. Moreover, this investment by Vista and Evergreen is a testament to the value Citrix has created and the reputation our team has built.”

Added Dan Streetman, CEO of Tibco:

“There has never been a better time to be in the business of connected intelligent analytics, and we’re thrilled to bring our industry-leading solutions to Citrix’s global customers. The workplace has changed forever, and companies everywhere will require real-time access to faster, smarter insights from the increasingly large volumes of data available to them, their employees, and their ecosystems. I couldn’t be more excited about our combined vision and look forward to a strong partnership.”

Noted Monti Saroya, co-head of Vista’s Flagship Fund and senior managing director:

“We have always viewed Citrix as a true technology pioneer, building and defining so many categories that have changed the landscape of the industry. As a private company, Citrix will have access to additional resources and support, as well as more flexibility to take advantage of strong secular tailwinds with trends supporting modern and secure remote hybrid work to serve the combined customer base and invest in high growth markets.”

Added John Stalder, managing director at Vista:

“Citrix and TIBCO provide mission-critical software and services to many the world’s most successful businesses, and we see tremendous value in combining their respective world-class offerings to help companies gather insight from the growing volumes of data generated by the hybrid work economy. Both businesses have now completed transitions to approximately 90% recurring revenue, poising the go-forward combined business to drive future growth. We look forward to partnering with Evergreen and the Citrix and TIBCO teams to ensure this is a seamless transition for all stakeholders.”

Concluded Managing Partner Jesse Cohn and Senior Portfolio Manager Jason Genrich on behalf of Evergreen and Elliott:

“We have long appreciated the mission-critical role that Citrix plays in keeping workforces connected. Having first invested in Citrix more than six years ago, we have a deep understanding of its unique strengths and significant potential as a private company. We look forward to partnering with Vista and working closely with Citrix’s management team and its talented employees to expand its capabilities and help drive its next phase of growth."

Note: Story originally published December 21, 2021. Updated January 31, 2022 with confirmed buyout details.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.