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"The only truly secure system is one that is powered off, cast in a block of concrete and sealed in a lead-lined room with armed guards."

-Gene Spafford

IBM Acquires Mobile Cloud Vendor Fiberlink

martinwolf Transaction Analysis
Transaction Facts
  • IBM (NYSE:IBMannounced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire mobile management and security company Fiberlink Communications. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
  • Based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, Fiberlink’s core platform is its Mobility as a Service (MaaS360) suite, which allows enterprises to standardize their workflows and data management procedures across various mobile devices.
  • Fiberlink has about 400 employees, up from 300 last year and 250 in 2011.
  • The firm raised $80 million in the early 2000s and had previously returned cash to investors before the IBM deal.
  • Though financial details were not disclosed, valuation estimates range from $150 million to $300 million based on extrapolating revenue from the number of employees and multiples for comparable acquisitions.
Capitalizing on the Rise of BYOD
  • Security is a growing concern: Mobile device management and security have become huge concerns for enterprises as they embrace the BYOD (bring your own device) trend. Sixty-two percent of companies are expected to allow the practice by 2014, which will increase concern enterprises have about allowing valuable information assets on mobile devices they do not own and control.
  • Managing mobile from a single platform: IBM’s answer is MobileFirst, a portfolio of offerings for companies seeking to tie together and manage their mobile resources from a single platform. Fiberlink’s MaaS360 suite will fill product gaps in MobileFirst.
  • Moving up the value chain through acquisitions: This transaction builds on half a dozen cloud-based acquisitions made by IBM this year with a similar goal, including the acquisition of Xtify earlier this month and Trusteer, which closed in September. In addition, all are part of IBM’s strategy of moving toward higher value cloud-based services offerings and away from low-end BPO.
  • Continued consolidation in the space: As device security remains a top concern for enterprises, we expect further consolidation as IBM competitors also seek to differentiate themselves by developing or acquiring mobile management solutions and merging them with their existing IT systems management infrastructures.

 

For more information, read the press release. martinwolf was not the advisor in this transaction.
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