by Brenon Daly
After being out of the market for more than a year, NICE Systems (NICE) is looking to do deals again. The Israeli company inked a pair of asset purchases in 2008, with a total bill just shy of $20m. Those pickups came after NICE made its largest acquisition to date, the $280m cash-and-stock purchase of Actimize. With no debt and some $530m in cash and equivalents, NICE certainly has the means to do deals. The firm didn’t offer a peek at its shopping list, but said Tuesday at the RBC Technology, Media and Communications Conference that it will be active.
As its most-significant acquisition, the addition of Actimize bolstered NICE’s analytics offering, helping to expand the number of applications the company sells. (Actimize has also thrived under NICE. We understand that the startup has doubled its revenue to $60m in the two years since NICE acquired it.) Founded in 1986, NICE sold recording technology for call centers for much of its corporate life. In the past year or so, it has expanded into additional applications, such as workforce management, customer feedback and governance, risk and compliance. Roughly three-quarters of NICE’s revenue comes from its enterprise business, with the rest coming from its security unit.
Of course, the market has been speculating on and off for many years about a large deal by NICE involving a combination with archrival Verint Systems (VRNT.PK). However, valuing any potential transaction remains a challenge because of Verint’s majority owner, Comverse Technology (CMVT.PK). (Yes, that’s the company that has been wracked by allegations of fraud and options backdating scandals, with its founder and former CEO living on the lam in Africa. The company’s financial statements are also woefully out of date.) We understand that Comverse retained a banker some time ago to help sell off some assets. If Comverse wanted to reheat that effort and shed Verint, we’re pretty sure that NICE would put aside historical rivalries and consider that consolidation play.