by Brenon Daly
It wasn’t quite shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater, but an early Tuesday afternoon development at an investment conference concerning Omniture (OMTR) certainly sparked a firestorm of speculation. During the luncheon at ThinkEquity’s 6th Annual Growth Conference in San Francisco, word came out that Omniture had scrapped its presentation, which had been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. PST. Chief executive Josh James was slated to speak.
Immediately, the money managers began trying to read between the lines. Was the company in play, or had James just missed his flight or something like that? Speculation was flying around the lunch tables and hallways, with people pulling in all sorts of information. One guy noted that the company’s CFO didn’t show up at his scheduled presentation at Deutsche Bank’s (DB) technology conference on Monday, either. Another chimed in that maybe executives were delayed by the heavy thunderstorms in Salt Lake City, where Omniture is based. Meanwhile, both the price and trading in shares of Omniture was picking up, after just bumping along up to that point.
As more people at the ThinkEquity conference started gossiping about Omniture, consensus grew that something big was brewing at the Web analytics firm. By the time the stock was halted, just ahead of the closing bell, speculation had shifted to certainty: Omniture was getting taken out. The only question was who was nabbing the company. For the record, not a single one of the hallway matchmakers picked Adobe Systems (ADBE) as the buyer. (Under terms of the deal, Adobe will hand over $21.50 per share, or $1.8bn, for Omniture.) Instead, the names that surfaced as potential acquirers of Omniture included Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG) and Salesforce.com (CRM).