SaaS consolidation is near as the big guys add to war chest

Consolidation looms in the software-as-a-service market as, SuccessFactors and Taleo all bolster their war chests for potential acquisitions.'s move to raise $500 million in debt is enough to spark speculation about potential takeover targets. But when's capital raise is put in context of other moves by SuccessFactors and Taleo, which raised $215 million and $130 million in stock offerings, respectively, it's clear that there's some consolidation brewing in the software-as-a-service market.

If you want to know the blueprint for raising cash and buying up rivals you don't have to look much farther than Taleo.

On Taleo's most recent earnings conference call, CEO Mike Gregoire said:

Our philosophy around acquisitions is very clear, we’ll look to enhance our competitive position in the talent management market through transactions that allow us to migrate our competitors’ customers to the Taleo platform, or we may do smaller deals where we can add domain expertise to our core platform and solution offering.

And as Gregoire told Bloomberg: It's hard to kill rival software companies so you might as well roll them up. Indeed, Taleo just closed the acquisition of Worldwide Acquisition in a $14 million deal that will extend the company's on-demand talent management suite.

Other big fish---notably't going to broadcast their plans for raising cash. However, analysts say they expect to go shopping. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Nemeroff said in a research note:

We believe could use the proceeds for tuck-in acquisitions, although we can't completely rule out larger deals given the size of the offering and its potentially large cash balance.

The big question: What SaaS players are likely takeover targets? It's also unclear whether SaaS players will stay purely on-demand. Could dabble in on-premise software a bit? And what are the out-of-the-box thinking acquisitions that are possible. With those questions in mind, here's a list of potential targets:

  • RightNow: If really wants to sew up on-demand CRM it could target rivals that could become difficult. If locked up CRM it would be free to expand into other categories. Wild-card: RightNow has a market cap slightly north of $535 million, which would qualify as more than just a tuck-in purchase.
  • Kronos: The company is a big dog in human capital management software, a space that's way crowded. Kronos also has a big enterprise footprint that would benefit Remember's biggest challenge going forward is selling directly to the C-Suite. Today, can sell to a lot of executives below that level---think corporate sales chiefs. Wild-card: Kronos isn't purely SaaS, but it's more into on-demand software than you'd think. Kronos also wouldn't come cheap with annual sales north of $700 million, but would transform It's more likely that would gobble up smaller human capital management players like, Workday and Accero.
  • SuccessFactors: Speaking of not cheap, SuccessFactors could also be a big bang type of deal for The irony would be that SuccessFactors, a specialist in employee productivity and performance, is also looking to go shopping. Wild-card: SuccessFactors would be a lot for to swallow. Helpstream's Bob Warfield notes that SuccessFactors---and NetSuite for that matter---would be out of reach for

  • Jive Software or Lithium. Salesforce could take a bigger plunge into social software. These deals would qualify as a logical extension to the core. Wild-card: It's not clear that these social app companies would want to sell out now. Then again, could afford to pay up. These deals would show a willingness to dabble in on-premise options.
  • The tuck-in club: Warfield adds that could gobble up a few marketing automation---think Eloqua or Marketo---and sales compensation---think Callidus---companies. Business intelligence outfits like PivotLink could be another interesting avenue for to pursue.


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