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Micro Focus Buys Borland

Another of the old guard has collapsed. Borland has finally given up the ghost

Another of the old guard has collapsed. Borland has finally given up the ghost.

After a 26-year run that saw it adopt multiple personalities in going from influential to non-entity, the tools house that once challenged Microsoft and Lotus is being acquired by Micro Focus for $75 million cash, a buck a share.

The British company wants it for its application lifecycle management software, Borland's latest avatar.

Micro Focus figures that with the roughly $8 million Borland had in the bank at the end of December, the acquisition will only cost it about $67 million. The price it's paying is nominally a 25% premium against Borland's closing price Tuesday but a 67% premium over its average closing price the prior 30 days.

The UK company is also buying Compuware's application testing and automated software quality assets for $80 million.

Micro Focus has been growing by acquisition since late 2006 and figures that Borland and the 330-man Compuware business paired with its own Data Express product gives it a better shot at leadership in the "fragmented" $2 billion global market for testing software, particularly in the US.

The Compuware business reportedly did $74 million in revenue in the 12 months ending in March earning roughly $5 million. The business has gross assets of $23 million. Micro Focus anticipates a $7 million restructuring charge but expects the unit to be accretive in 12 months.

Integrating Borland, which lost $204 million last year, is going to be dicier. The Borland acquisition, expected to close at the end of this quarter, the beginning of the next, will mean a $40 million charge.

Micro Focus CEO Stephen Kelly remarked that "this is a time where the strong get stronger, and sadly, the weak will wither on the vine. So it's an opportunity for us, having had three years together where we've doubled the revenues of the company and actually increased profits by about 3.5 times - a very solid foundation for Micro Focus to go to the next scale and to actually assimilate some great assets and really become a leading vendor in the marketplace for testing as well as the core application modernization and management."

Borland has been operating under an acting president since CEO Tod Nielsen, an ex-Microsoft star, jumped ship in January to join his old Microsoft colleague Paul Maritz at VMware as COO.

Amid its original flamboyance and later misdirection Borland with its no-nonsense license managed to be an open source pioneer and with its victory over Lotus' look-and-feel suit an early advocate of open standards.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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