Partners Welcome Acquisition Of Analytics Vendor Qlik

Channel partners of analytics vendor Qlik are applauding its intended sale to technology-focused private equity firm Thoma Bravo for $3 billion in cash.

Following months of pressure from an activist investor, Qlik, a publicly traded company based in Radnor, Pa., unveiled the deal Thursday morning. Thoma Bravo holds stakes in a broad portfolio of application and infrastructure software-focused companies.

The head of one Qlik partner, Allegro Business Intelligence, of New Providence, N.J., welcomed news of the acquisition.

[Related: Qlik Offers Cloud BI Software Road Map, Debuts Cloud Analytics Software For SMBs]

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"It's a net positive," Allegro President Ronald Anderson told CRN.

Anderson said Qlik’s announcement was not a surprise, as it had reportedly retained investment bank Morgan Stanley earlier this year to explore a possible sale. In March, Reuters reported that Qlik was facing pressure from activist investor Elliott Management, which, after it bought an 8.8 percent stake in Qlik, said the company should sell to a larger technology rival.

With the acquisition taking Qlik off the stock market, it will remove a lot of pressure on the company, Anderson added.

"You become sort of a victim to the pressures of the market," and there will now be less pressure on Qlik to make its numbers, Anderson said.

As for the potential impact on its channel partners, Anderson said, "I don't see them radically changing their go-to-market strategies."

An executive with another Qlik partner, Bardess Group, based in Mendham, N.J., also welcomed the news.

Joseph DiSiena, president of consulting services for Bardess, said there were rumors of a potential sale to a larger technology vendor. He called it "good news" that Qlik didn't move in that direction, saying it would have been bad for the company.

Regardless, DiSiena added, Qlik was destined to be sold.

Under the terms of the deal with Thoma Bravo, Qlik shareholders will receive $30.50 for each share of stock, the company said. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, subject to approval by Qlik's shareholders and regulatory authorities, as well as the customary closing conditions, Qlik said in a statement.

In that same statement, Qlik CEO Lars Bjork said the deal "is in the best interest of Qlik's shareholders" and provides the company with additional flexibility to execute its strategy. At the company's partner conference last month, executives revealed an expansion of Qlik's partner program beyond software license sales to include helping its roughly 1,700 channel partners grow their service offerings and software subscription revenue.

The program changes come as Qlik itself seeks to grow beyond its roots as a developer of a single data-visualization software product into a provider of broader business analytics platforms and services.

"The business is growing and accelerating and we want to see that continue," Mark Thurmond, Qlik executive vice president of worldwide sales and services, told hundreds of partners at last month's conference, in Orlando, Fla. "We have a huge opportunity in front of us."

Qlik stands to become the latest in a growing line of technology industry investments for Thoma Bravo, based in San Francisco. In 2014, it acquired software developer Compuware for $2.5 billion after it, too, had come under pressure from Elliott Management. Earlier this year, the private equity firm and Silver Lake Partners bought hybrid IT management software vendor SolarWinds for $4.5 billion.

"As the need for analytic solutions grows, Qlik is well-positioned to continue to drive innovation and lead the market," Orlando Bravo, a managing partner at Thoma Bravo, said in the Qlik statement.

Qlik saw steady revenue gains from 2011 through 2015, reporting a 10 percent jump last year, to $613 million. But it last reported a bottom-line gain in 2012. Since then, it steadily lost money, reporting a loss of $36.5 million in 2015, according to its financial statements. However, in the first quarter of 2016, Qlik reported a 15 percent year-over-year revenue gain, to $138 million. Meanwhile, it pared its net loss for the quarter to $27 million from $30.3 million in the first quarter of 2015.

Qlik’s stock finished up nearly 4 percent Thursday on the Nasdaq exchange to close at $30.08 a share. It closed Wednesday at $28.97.

DiSiena, of Bardess Group, said he has heard good things about Thoma Bravo from others in the technology industry and believes the deal will help improve Qlik's product line, which will, in turn, help the company's partners.

"Partners are a big part of what they're going to do," DiSiena said. The deal "is the best outcome that we could get."