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UPDATE: Aprimo will stay put after $525M acquisition

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Marketing software company Aprimo Inc. will stay in Indianapolis after being sold for $525 million to Dayton, Ohio-based based data storage giant Teradata Corp., Aprimo’s CEO said Wednesday.

“The Aprimo headquarters will remain in Indianapolis, and we will be looking to expand our applications business in both Indianapolis and globally once the deal has closed,” Bill Godfrey, president and CEO of Aprimo, said in a statement.

Godfrey, who could not be reached for comment, will lead Teradata’s applications business.

It’s not clear how many of Aprimo’s nearly 400 employees—250 of them at its East 96th Street headquarters—will lose their jobs as certain functions are consolidated with Teradata, however.

Aprimo officials deferred questions to Teradata, which could not be reached for comment.

Teradata has about 6,000 employees worldwide and had 2009 sales of $1.17 billion.

The deal announced Wednesday morning ends the independent run of Aprimo, co-founded by Godfrey 12 years ago and now posting annual sales of more than $70 million.

Just two years ago, Aprimo shelved plans for a $50 million initial public stock offering amid a deteriorating economy. Even so, the company’s annual revenue has been growing at double-digit rates.

Sales among recurring customers, such as Bank of America and Warner Brothers, grew at a torrid 29 percent last year, the company told IBJ last March.

The deal is bittersweet for Indianapolis, home to a number of burgeoning technology companies. But many are snapped up after reaching a large scale. Call center software firm Software Artistry, for example, was acquired by IBM for $200 million in 1997.

The city has but one locally based technology firm that’s publicly traded—Interactive Intelligence.

On the other hand, Aprimo appears to have fetched a rich price, with the $525 million topping the $480 million IBM paid this summer for big Aprimo competitor Unica Corp., a Waltham, Mass.-based company with 500 employees.

Many analysts in August speculated Aprimo would be the next to be acquired, with its rival now backed by deep pockets.

Venture capital firms, including local Blue Chip Venture Co., own much of Aprimo.

“We are delighted,” said Don Aquilano, managing partner of Blue Chip and of Allos Ventures.  “There are very few venture-backed acquisitions of this magnitude. … This really sort of stands out as one of the larger acquisitions certainly in the Midwest, if not in the country.”

Aquilano said the $525 million purchase price is a testament to Aprimo’s management team. “They’ve grown this business through two recessions,” he said.

Teradata’s price for Aprimo reflects what the Ohio company sees as a good complement to its other big business segment: business analytics.

Aprimo’s focus is cloud-based business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing applications. It claims to have 36 percent of the Fortune 100 companies as clients.

Publicly traded Teradata last month reported third-quarter sales of $489 million, up 15 percent from the period in 2009.

Still, some may lament the loss of independence of another local tech firm.

Aquilano said such acquisitions historically have served to stimulate development of new companies here. He points to Aprimo CEO Godfrey, who formed the company after a prior stint at Software Artistry. Others, such as Software Artistry co-founder Scott Webber, went on to help start additional companies here, the latest being BidPal, which created a mobile phone device for auctions.

Perhaps the most prolific tech executive locally is Scott A. Jones, who sold a number of companies he created, including Escient and Gracenote. Jones has gone on to create other local tech firms, including ChaCha Search and Precise Path Robotics.

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  • So....
    ...how far can one go without VC money and retain control over a company?

    The missus wants me to shoestring/bootstrap a company without signing away a first-born; actually, it'll be two, one will need the other. They could be combined, but it'll be easier to split them.

    It's not as if I'm going to pull up the tent stakes and fold up the tent and head for parts unknown.

    Twenty-four years ago, she asked for a "verbal prenup" to stay within a reasonable driving distance. Because of my relationship with them (without her), I really have no interest in moving away from them, either.

    Seed money? Not bucks. Books. I have 10k-12k books boxed away, headed to Half-Price when I'm able to make time.

    But the best part is I can do a lot of preliminary work without spending money.

    We've arranged finances so we can live off my wife's salary. I have an agent working to sell a couple of ads and will be seeking one for TV-specific spec scripts written. (not to mention the (reputable) contests for such things. I can produce nearly a dozen (new) shoes and almost that many scripts for existing shows.

    And I'm not waiting until the next Startup Weekend, which is preliminarily scheduled for April. I've been sitting on this for almost two years and will hate for someone else to make a go of it.

    Dane

    p.s.

    Everyone is well-aware of beer & napkin meetings. I can top that. Try heading to Bravo!, where they have cloth tablecloths. But it's what is on top of them which makes them so valuable: 3.5' x 3.5' pieces of butcher paper, which are conducive to writing things out. When ready to leave, clear the table, roll up the paper, and take it away.

    Paper vs. napkin? Priceless.

  • Come on, man.
    Aprimo isn't going anywhere and, in fact, is growing by 200 employees as a result of the acquisition. TDC's application group is being rolled into Aprimo and no jobs are going away. Sorry to disappoint you, Mudd.
  • Another company lost
    Time for Frazier Technology Ventures, Blue Chip Venture Company and Sigma Partners to ring the register. So long Aprimo, it was good to know you. Everyone hopes that Teradata will not drive you into nonexistence like Software Artistry was "disappeared" by IBM/Tivoli/Peregrine Systems.

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