People, breathe. The Financial Times yesterday ran a story about AVEVA, saying that several companies were in the running to acquire it. That led to all sorts of speculation in the media, which sent AVEVA’s share price up 10% or so today on the London Stock Exchange. (The FT is behind a paywall; read about the article here.)
First of all, there are always rumors about companies being acquired. That’s not unusual or new, especially given how much deal activity there is in the software world right now.
But let’s think this through. Does it even make sense for a deal to happen right now?
AVEVA reports results tomorrow. If those results are awesome (and I know NOTHING you don’t also know), then the share price would have gone up tomorrow anyway, making it a more expensive acquisition than it was on Friday. Given that it’s always been considered expensive, sort of like ANSYS is, that’s not likely to be good timing for a buyer.
If the results are lousy (and again, I DON’T KNOW), it’s hard to predict how much investors would sell off and how low the price could get. AVEVA has already said results would be in line with expectation so it’s possible Friday’s valuation is where the market wants it to be (investors call this “baked in”).
But it really comes down to expectations for the rest of 2015 and for 2016. Will AVEVA’s revenue decline, as oil projects are postponed until prices rise again? Or are AVEVA’s sales diverse enough to weather this storm? If that forecast is good, which it might be as asset owners try to eke out efficiency gains for existing facilities while continuing with some new projects, AVEVA might be OK. If tomorrow’s news is pessimistic, the share price might fall; if optimistic, it will likely rise. Will results reported in the fall likely be good, driving the share price up?
AVEVA could be a great addition to any number of enterprises that want to do what Siemens did with the SDRC/UGS PLM acquisition — adding software-level profitability to a hardware business and fining points of intersection to bring unified products to market. It could also be a solid investment for a private equity firm that has a financial and not strategic interest.
It comes down to price, timing and value. Lowest price today or tomorrow? Will a competitor get a bid in first? How much does price even matter, for a buyer trying to fill a strategic gap?
Keeping in mind that I am speculating (which I hate doing, but you keep asking): If I wanted to acquire AVEVA, I would have done it last week. At this point, I’d probably wait to see what happens with project work in upstream and downstream oil (drilling and refining) and shipbuilding/
We’ll know tomorrow how AVEVA’s year ended (to March 31) and how management sees 2015 and 2016. If you’re an investor, good luck; keep calm. If you’re a customer or partner, I’d ignore all of this until there’s something concrete to do something about.