OpenText this week announced it will acquire Micro Focus for $6 billion. The acquisition is part of an effort to reinvigorate a broad portfolio of information management, application development and testing, integration and cybersecurity platforms by accelerating the rate at which they are transitioned to OpenText’s managed private cloud.
The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023, and the combined company expects to reduce costs by an additional $100 million on top of the $300 million Micro Focus previously committed to cutting as part of an ongoing effort to return to profitability and growth.
OpenText CEO Mark J. Barrenechea told analysts the ultimate goal is to enable organizations to accelerate their digital business transformation initiatives using a set of application programming interface (API)-centric offerings that reside on a private cloud.
Digital transformation represents the largest opportunity in the history of computing, he said, but Barrenechea also acknowledged that a lot of companies are still struggling with making that transition. “There has to be a better way to get digital transformation right,” he said.
The Micro Focus portfolio includes everything from a robotic process automation (RPA) offering, a recently-launched IT service management (ITSM) offering—dubbed Service Automation Management X—along with the Vertica database and LoadRunner testing tools. There is also a slew of cybersecurity platforms that include ArcSight, Fortify, IDOL Zenworks and Sentinel along with legacy COBOL application development tools and even the remnants of Novell.
In effect, OpenText now has one of the broadest software portfolios in the industry after previously acquiring Documentum, Carbonite, Hummingbird and Zix. “The strategy appears to be to simply gather up all the pieces on the chess board,” said Mitch Ashley, principal analyst for Techstrong Research, an arm of Techstrong Group that is also the parent company of DevOps.com.
Despite the disjointed Micro Focus portfolio, OpenText has no intention of selling off any of those offerings, said Barrenechea. Going forward, the strategy is to not only accelerate the transition to the cloud but also expand application license renewal services, he added. OpenText also sees an opportunity to expand the appeal of the Micro Focus portfolio into the small-to-medium business (SMB) market, noted Barrenechea.
All told, it will take six quarters once the deal is closed to align the Micro Focus business model with the one OpenText currently employs, which Barrenechea said should result in growth starting eight quarters after the deal closes.
There’s no doubt that, once the deal closes, IT organizations that rely on Micro Focus will be closely watching the level of ongoing investment in the portfolio for any signs of one platform being deemphasized in favor of another. It’s also probable that many customers will be relieved to see the stewardship of those platforms assumed by a company that is on firmer financial footing.
Regardless of how the OpenText portfolio evolves in 2023, however, one thing that is certain is IT organizations have no shortage of alternatives to consider.