By Ben Kolada
After setting an M&A spending record in 2012, Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) has stayed on the sidelines. The company announced six acquisitions that year, including two of its three largest deals, and spent more than $750m, the most in its history. It has been pretty quiet since then, announcing only two acquisitions in 2013 for a combined total of just $11m.
The cooldown contrasts the trend we're seeing among the other large tech vendors, most of which have moved toward fewer and larger acquisitions. (Our recent Tech M&A Outlook webinar talks more about this trend.) Citrix participated in this activity in 2012, when it announced its all-cash acquisitions of Bytemobile for $435m and Zenprise for $327m. What's especially noteworthy is that those two deals combined were worth more than the free cash flow Citrix generated in all of 2012 (though we note that the Zenprise buy closed in January 2013).
However, poor financial results have derailed Citrix's dealmaking machine since then. In the 15 months since announcing the Zenprise purchase, Citrix's quarterly results have been rocky - it has lowered guidance or posted results below analysts' expectations a half-dozen times.
Its recently released 10-K shows that Citrix paid $5.3m for Byte Squared in September and $5.5m for Skytide in December, its only two deals of 2013. At $28.2m, the lone purchase Citrix has announced so far this year, Framehawk, already surpasses its 2013 total M&A spending, but still falls below its three-year median acquisition size of $45m, according to The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase.
Citrix's recent acquisitions
Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase *In 2012, Citrix also acquired two unnamed companies
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Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.