Mergers and Acqusitions: Analyzing them

Valuation of future cash flows is an inexact science- too often it relies either on flat historical numbers (we grew by 5% last year so next year we will grow by 10%)

To add to the fun is the agency conflict, manager’s priorities (in terms of stock options encashment) is different from owner’s priorities.

These are some ways you can track companies for analysis-

1) Make a Google Alert on Company Name

2) Track if there is sudden and sustained spike in activity – it may be that company may be on road show seeking like minded partners, investors or mergers.

3) Watch for sudden drop in news alerts- it may mean radio silence or company may be in negotiations

4) Watch how company starts behaving with traditional antagonists…….

The easiest word thrown in the melee is ethics, copyright violations or payments delayed.

I am pasting an extract by a noted and renowned analyst in the business intelligence field-

Curt Monash

His Professional opinion on SAP

SAP’s NetWeaver Business Warehouse software will soon run natively on Teradata’s database for high-end data warehousing and BI (business intelligence), the vendors announced Monday.

SAP and its BusinessObjects BI subsidiary already had partnerships and product integrations with Teradata. But the vendors’ many joint customers have been clamoring for more, and native Business Warehouse support is the answer, said Tim Lang, vice president of product management for Business Objects.

SAP expects the new capability to enter beta testing in the fourth quarter of this year, with general availability in the first quarter of 2010, according to a spokesman.

Under the partnership, SAP will be handling first-line support, according to Lang. Pricing was not available.

The announcement drew a skeptical response from analyst Curt Monash of Monash Research, who questioned how deeply SAP will be committed to selling its customers on Teradata versus rival platforms.

“Business Objects has long been an extremely important partner for Teradata. But SAP’s most important DBMS partner is and will long be IBM, simply because [IBM] DB2 is not Oracle,” Monash said.”

Credit-

http://www.infoworld.com/d/data-management/sap-and-teradata-deepen-data-warehousing-ties-088

and here are some words from Curt Monash’s personal views on SAP

Typical nonsense from SAP

Below, essentially in its entirety, is an e-mail I just received from SAP, today, January 3. (Emphasis mine.)

Thank you for attending SAPs 4th Annual Analyst Summit in Las Vegas. We hope you found the time to be valuable. To ensure that we continue meeting your informational needs, please take a few moments to complete our online survey by using the link below. We ask that you please complete the survey before December 20. We look forward to receiving your feedback.

What makes this typical piece of SAP over-organization particularly amusing is that I didnt actually attend the event. I was planning to, but after considerable effort I think I finally made it clear to VP of Analyst Relations Don Bulmer that I was fed up with being lied to* by him and his colleagues. In connection with that, we came to a mutual agreement, as it were, that I wouldnt go.

*and lied about

Obviously, administrative ineptitude and dishonesty are two very different matters, united only by the fact that they both are characteristics of SAP, particularly its analyst relations group. Having said that, I should hasten to add that there are plenty of people at SAP I still trust. If Peter Zencke or Lothar Schubert tells me something, I expect it to be true. And its not just Germans; I feel the same way about Dan Rosenberg or Andrew Cabanski-Dunning, to name just a couple non-German SAP guys.

But I have to say this both SAPs ethics and its internal business processes are sufficiently screwed up as to cast doubt on SAPs qualifications to run the worlds best-run businesses.

Source:

http://www.monashreport.com/2007/01/03/sap-nonsense-ethics/

Journalism ethics off course makes sure that journalists don’t get renumerance or have to compulsorily declare benefits openly.This is not true for online journalism as it is still evolving.

Curt Monash is the grand daddy of all Business Intelligence Journalists- he has been doing this and seen it all since 1981 ( I was 4 years old then).

Almost incorruptible and therefore much respected his Monash report remains closely watched.

Some techniques to thwart Business Intelligence journalists is off course tactics of

1) Fear

2) Uncertainity

3) Doubt

by planting false leaks, or favoring more pliable journalists than the ones who ask difficult questions.

Another way is to use Search Engine Optimization so the Google search is rendered ineffective for diificult journalists for people to read them.

Why did I start this thread?

Well it seems the Business Intelligence world is coming to a round of consolidations and mergers. So will the trend of mega vendors first mentioned by M Fauschette here lead to a trend of mega journalist agencies as well- like a Fox News for all business intelligence journalists to report and get a share of the booty.

The Business Intelligence companies have long viewed analyst relationships as an unnecessary and uncontrollable marketing channel which they would like to see evolve.

Television Ratings can be manipulated for advertising similarly can you manipulate views, page views, clicks on a website for website advertisement.The catch is Google Trends may just give you the actual picture, but you can lie low by choosing not to submit or ping google during initial days and then we the website is big enough in terms of viewers or contributing bloggers can then safely ping Google as the momentum would be inertial in terms of getting bigger and bigger.

http://www.mfauscette.com/software_technology_partn/2009/05/the-emergence-of-the-mega-tech-vendor-economy.html

Here are some facts as per companies-

1) For SAS Institute

a) WPS is launching its Desktop software which enables SAS language users to migrate seamlessly at 1/10 th of the cost of SAS Base and SAS Stat. It will include Proc Reg and Proc Logistic in this and have a huge documentation.

b) R – open source software is increasingly powerful to manipulate data. SAS/IML tried offering a peace hand but they would need to reconcile with the GPL conditions for R- so if it is a plugin the source code is open and so on

c) Inference of R may be acquired by SAS to get a limited liability stake in a R based user platform.

d) Traditional Rival SPSS ( the two have dunked it out in analytics since 40 years) has a much better GUI and launched a revamped brand PASW. They are no longer distracted with a lawsuit which curiously accused them of stock manipulation and were found innocent.

e) Jim Goodnight has been dominating the industry since 1975 and has managed to stay private despite three recessions and huge inducements ( a wise miove given the mess in the markets in 2008). After Jim who will lead SAS with as much wisdom is an open question. Jim has refused Microsoft some years back, and is still very much in command despite being isolated in terms of industry alliances he remains respected. Pressure on him to rush into a merger would may just backfire.

f) The politics of envy- SAS is hated by many analytics people just as in some corners people hate America- it is because it is number 1, and been there too long.Did you mention anti-trust investigations . Well WPS is based out of UK and the European Union takes competition much more seriously.

g) Long time grudges – SAS is disliked despite its substantial R and D investments, the care it takes of its employees, and local community. Naturally people who are excluded or were excluded at some point of time have resentments.

h) SAS ambitions in Business Intelligence where curiously it is not that expensive and is actually more efficient than other players. The recent salvo fired by Jim Davis declaring business analytics as better than business intelligence- a remark much resented by cricket loving British journalist, Peter J Thomas

http://peterthomas.wordpress.com/category/business-intelligence/sas-bi-ba-controversy/

Intellectuals can carry huge grudges for decades ( Newton and Liebnitz) or Me with people who delay my interviews.

Teradata

1) Teradata has been a big partner with both SAS and SAP. It has also been losing ground recently in the same scenario SAS will shortly face.

It was also spun off in 2007-8 by the parent company NCR

http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/infosphere/against-the-flow-ncr-unacquires-teradata-13842

So will SAS buy Teradata

Will SAP Buy Teradata

Will SAS merge with Teradata and acquired by SAP while reaching a compromise with both WPS and R Project.

Will SAS call the bluff, make sincere efforts with the GPL and academic community to reconcile, give away multiple SAS Base and SAS Stat licenses in colleges and universities (like Asia, India, China) by expanding their academic program globally, start offering more coverage to JMP at a reduced price, make a trust for succession.

I dont know. All I know is I like writing code and poetry. Any code that gets the job done.

Any poem that I want to write ( see scribd books on the right)

Bi , Ba and Bs

Business intelligence is an over-used term that has had its day, and business analytics is now the differentiator that will allow customers to better forecast the future especially in this current economic climate.Business intelligence doesn’t make a difference to the top or bottom line, and is merely a productivity tool like e-mail.

Quote from Jim Davis ,

SAS Institute Inc.’s senior vice-president and chief marketing officer.

Pigeon-holing one element or another as backward-looking and another as forward-looking doesnt even make much marketing sense, let alone being a tenable intellectual position to take. I think it is not unreasonable to expect more cogent commentary from the people at SAS than Mr Davis recent statements.

Post from Peter Thomas, Business Intelligence Guru.

Bottom line, it’s all fluff. I don’t like the term business analytics; it doesn’t tell me anything. Frankly, I think business intelligence as a term is downright laughable, too. What does that mean?

Post from Neil Raden Founder of Hired Brains

Here are my views on this

  • Is the distinction pure branding or semantics. Or is it rebranding  because SAS is the leader and the biggest business analytics and would not be the biggest business intelligence vendor- thus marking a tactical and aggressive shift in their strategy –
  • Also SAS remains the largest independent private business and the recent consolidation in this industry could be unsettling to people who want to keep it independent.
  • Ultimately customers vote with the cheque books –

call it business intelligence, business analytics or business as usual.

Bi,ba or bs