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Mum's the word from Pivotal

There's still no response from Pivotal on Onyx's takeover bid. But the private equity firm that had agreed to acquire Pivotal is weighing in.

Pivotal Corp. is currently reviewing Onyx Corp.'s unsolicited takeover bid and is promising to announce how it intends to proceed in "due course."

The Bellevue, Wash.-based Onyx has asked for a response by 2 p.m. Friday. Yesterday, it made an all-stock play for Pivotal, which last month announced it would be acquired by an investment company in a cash deal.

A Pivotal spokeswoman told Wednesday that CEO Bo Manning was returning from India, where the company has a sizable workforce, and would assemble the board of directors to review the offer. The Vancouver, British Columbia-headquartered Pivotal had no further comment until it had time to study the Onyx deal.

Meantime, Oak Investment Partners, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based private equity firm that agreed to acquire Pivotal last month, said its $48 million cash offer for Pivotal is the safer bet. After its proposed acquisition, Oak Investment plans to merge Pivotal with e-service software provider Talisma Inc.

Fredric Harman, general partner at Oak, said in a statement that he's confident shareholders will realize "the cash and certainty of the Oak offer dramatically outweigh the risks associated with the conditional proposal from Onyx funded with a speculative currency in the form of Onyx stock."

Harman went on to call Onyx's stock "highly-volatile and thinly-traded."

Onyx is proposing to swap 0.475 shares of Onyx for each Pivotal share. It also intends to eventually merge the companies' midmarket CRM product lines.

Onyx would incur a $1.5 million fee for breaking up the Oak deal.

Combined, Onyx and Pivotal would be second to Siebel Systems Inc. among the pure-play CRM vendors, with $110 million in revenue and 2,600 customers. If the Onyx acquisition is successful, analysts expect cost synergies to result in much lower operating expenses.

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