Looks like that Parallels IPO won’t be happening after all. Sun Microsystems has today announced it has reached an agreement to acquire Parallels (formerly SWsoft) and all of its assets for a whopping $ 205 million. The major acquisition had been rumoured to be imminent throughout the course of 2007, but never actually went through, which led mosts analysts to believe the Herndon, VA-based company was heading towards an IPO following in VMware’s footsteps rather than being picked up by one of the big boys.
Needless to say, the acquisition is a pretty bold one, which is bound to serve as wake-up call for the entire virtualization industry. Both companies had been on a buying spree the past few months: Sun picked up innotek / VirtualBox, while Parallels recently acknowledged its January acquisition of ModernGigabyte. The acquisition is expected to be finalized by June, around the time Sun also plans to ship xVM Server.
“With the acquisition of Parallels, Sun’s ready to become the only true leader in virtualization technology,” said Brian Sutphin, Executive Vice President Corporate Development & Alliances for Sun Microsystems. “With Parallels’ strong desktop position, we will be able to cater both Windows/Linux and Mac users with our state-of-the-art virtualization offering.”
Sergei Beloussov, Board Chairman and CEO of Parallels, added:”We’re extremely excited about the opportunities this merger will bring for our many customers and partners. We’re looking forward to effectively integrating our server product line with Sun’s sparc systems.”
Parallels, former SWsoft, has been making waves ever since it was founded in 1999. The virtualization technology company today counts more than 900 employees worldwide and has more than doubled revenues every year for the past eight years, while its products have been giving VMware a run for its money, especially in the small- and medium-business marketplace. The company was backed in 2005 by Intel Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Insight Venture Partners.
While VMware has been more than struggling to consolidate its splashing entry on the public market, Parallels has effectively become the second largest virtualization seller, with both containers and hypervisor plays in its portfolio. Sun’s bold move is logical in this regard, be it quite late, as this acquisition would have made more sense if it had happened around this time last year.
We’re still scrambling to get some official comments on the news from market insiders, we’ll update this post as they come in!
Update: obviously, this was an April Fool (we’re in based in Europe, so it’s April 1 earlier than over in the US).
On any other day, what would you think about this announcement? Would it have surprised you that much? Do you think it would be a fair valuation and a good synergy? Let us know in comments!
(also: check some classic April Fools’ Day jokes here)
Update 3: check out our follow-up post