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SunGard IPO Soon?

Posted on Monday, Jan 16th 2012

Analysts believe that in 2012, not only will the market see a continued increase in the number tech IPOs, but other companies that went private earlier may want to cash out and go public again. Wayne, Philadelphia– based technology player SunGard is expected to be among that second group. SunGard provides software and processing solutions for financial services, education, and the public sector.  They also provide disaster recovery and managed IT services in addition to consulting services for information availability and business continuity management.

SunGard’s Financials
In 2005, a consortium of seven big investors, including Silver Lake, Bain Capital, the Blackstone Group, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Providence Equity Partners, and Texas Pacific Group announced one of the biggest leveraged buy-outs within the technology segment. The investors bought the technology leader for $11.76 billion. The SunGard deal was known not only for its size, but also as a significant step for these private equity investors to enter the technology segment.

Before the buy-out, SunGard had annual revenues of $3.56 billion generated from 20,000 customers and delivered by operations manned by more than 10,000 employees. Since then, the company has grown to annual revenues of about $5 billion and is ranked among the top 500 in Fortune 500. They claim to be the largest privately held business software and IT services company.

SunGard organizes its operations around four key segments: Financial Systems, Higher Education, Public Sector, and Availability Services. They offer software and processing solutions enabling trading securities, managing portfolios, and accounting for investment assets. For the Higher Education segment, besides software and enterprise resource planning solutions, they offer consulting services and IT management services focused on colleges, universities, campuses, foundations, and state systems. The Availability Services segment portfolio includes recovery services and advanced recovery and managed services that help organizations with uninterrupted access to mission-critical IT systems.

In the recently announced third quarter results, SunGard’s revenues grew 3% over the year to $1.11 billion. They reported adjusted EBITDA of $303 million for the period.  By segment, Financial Systems revenues grew 5% over the year to $695 million and Availability Services revenues remained flat at $364 million. Other Revenues, which include their Public Sector and K-12 businesses, dropped 6% over the year to $51 million.

SunGard’s Acquisitions and International Growth
SunGard continues to grow their business offerings and international presence through acquisitions. Recently, they completed the acquisition of Syntesys, a Europe-based SWIFT service bureaus. SunGard hopes to leverage Systesys’s network of business and technical experts focused on the SWIFT community to help strengthen SunGard’s offerings of Ecosystem Communication Hub (Echos) services. Echos is a solution that provides connectivity for organizations by helping them access services such as electronic bank account management, statement aggregation, and bank fee analysis. Through Syntesys, SunGard will be able to “offer an expanded set of managed services around SWIFT connectivity” and expand their presence in the EMEA market.

Within Europe, they also acquired the Pilot solution from TOBAM, a Paris-based asset management firm. TOBAM’s Pilot is a decision support solution for the fund’s principals and is expected to be a good complement to SunGard’s Asset Arena solution suite. Asset Arena supports the asset management industry by providing services that help with investment management, investment operations and investor servicing. The acquisition of Pilot will also help them offer these solutions for smaller asset managers.

SunGard’s international expansion also continued with them establishing a SunGard Global Network hub in Santiago, Chile. The Santiago hub is the third hub by the company in Latin America and will help international investors with access to Bolsa de Comercio de Santiago (BCS), Chile’s equity and derivatives exchange.

SunGard surely looks to be on a path for growth. Although they have not disclosed any intentions of listing soon, analysts believe that the private investors may be looking for an exit and thus planning an IPO.

The private equity business model has come under scrutiny lately, in part because Mitt Romney’s bid to win the Republican nomination for the 2012 U.S. presidential election is gaining momentum. Interested readers may want to refer to this article in The Economist called “Romney the Revolutionary” to get one perspective of the real question at stake in November’s election.

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