SAS Founders Call Off Sales Talks with Broadcom

Nancy J. Delong

Longtime analytics giant SAS briefly entertained the idea of staying obtained by semiconductor giant Broadcom. Now that the talks are off, what is actually next for the forty five-12 months-outdated business stalwart?

Credit: JHVEPhoto via Adobe Stock

Credit score: JHVEPhoto by means of Adobe Inventory

For a couple hrs in the previous 7 days, it looked like longtime business analytics chief SAS could ultimately essentially be sold to a bigger tech organization, paving the way to a opportunity retirement or full-time philanthropy emphasis for its seventy eight-12 months-outdated co-founder, co-operator, and CEO, Jim Goodnight, and a new operator for the firm’s portfolio of business analytics offerings.

A report in the Wall Avenue Journal on July twelve mentioned that forty five-12 months-outdated SAS was in talks with semiconductor giant Broadcom for a sale of the organization, citing resources close to the issue, and then a working day later on the Wall Avenue Journal reported that all those talks have been more than and no offer would materialize right after SAS’ entrepreneurs adjusted their minds.

Broadcom would not be an apparent preference as an acquirer of SAS, but the chip organization has produced some investments in the business computer software industry in new yrs, together with assets of CA Technologies and Symantec.

The sale could have been a massive offer to business organizations for the reason that quite a few of them have been standardized on SAS analytics computer software for yrs. SAS says that ninety one of the Fortune one hundred businesses use SAS computer software. Shoppers contain Honda, Chico, DSW, Learn Economical Solutions, the LA Kings, Lockheed Martin, and quite a few other individuals.

“SAS has come to be an vital portion of the world’s premier enterprises for essential routines like forecasting and earning predictions about marketplaces. It is enmeshed in all these enterprises,” Forrester VP and analyst Mike Gualtieri explained to InformationWeek. “SAS has been all-around because the 70s, and it was basically on your own in the analytics place. No one particular could contact it.”

Gualtieri mentioned that SAS buyers normally have two issues about the organization — the pricing and the truth that the next generation of information scientists has standardized on a unique set of tools.

Younger information scientists have revealed a choice for open up-source tools this sort of as R and Python, yet the business institution is nonetheless a SAS stronghold.

“SAS has had so significantly expenditure in R&D that its products and solutions have stayed ahead of most other businesses, together with startups,” mentioned Gualtieri. “Even so, they have a name among the new information scientists as staying a dinosaur — slow to embrace open up source and the cloud.”

But which is a little something that SAS has been working to adjust. Shifts in the industry, each toward open up-source tools and cloud vs. on-premises computer software, have not been disregarded by SAS executives. For occasion, SAS released the principle of SAS ModelOps virtually 2 yrs in the past in 2019, as a offer of technological know-how and advisory providers designed to streamline the management, deployment, checking, retraining, and governance of each SAS and open up-source analytical designs.

At the time in 2019 CTO Oliver Schabenberger explained to InformationWeek: “I see our position ever more as an integrator of analytics.” Schabenberger left SAS in January 2021 to sign up for SingleStore (formerly recognised as MemSQL) as chief innovation officer right after that firm’s most new round of new funding, leaving SAS without an apparent successor to Goodnight, one more cause why the firm’s entrepreneurs could be hunting at a sale of the organization as an exit tactic.

SAS has also produced inroads in its cloud endeavours. SAS launched its cloud-primarily based platform, SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure in November 2020 and in May perhaps 2021 included cloud-indigenous guidance for the platform on AWS and Google Cloud with ideas to add Red Hat OpenShift later on this 12 months.

SAS has been modernizing its portfolio to match the realities of present day information scientists and buyers.

Forrester VP and analyst Boris Evelson mentioned that the idea of SAS staying in revenue talks was no surprise. There have been rumors of this sort of talks for quite a few yrs, he mentioned.

“It is really really hard for an unbiased pure-play to survive these times,” he mentioned. “The pricing pressures are huge. Microsoft, Amazon, and Google are offering away information and analytics products and solutions at minimal expenses for the reason that they want to catch the attention of buyers to their cloud platforms.”

Even so, the principle of Broadcom as an acquirer of SAS was a little bit of a surprise to each Evelson and Gualtieri specified the lack of any overlap in any respect in the companies’ portfolios.

“I see no product synergies. It is really just about like it would be a independent division,” Evelson mentioned.

Probably which is what SAS founder Goodnight had in head. The organization he crafted and now operates mainly from a big campus in Cary, North Carolina, is well-recognised for its positive staff culture, 35-hour workweeks, on-campus childcare and cafeterias exactly where Goodnight himself eats lunch, and personal offices for most staff. The organization invests twenty% or extra of revenues in the direction of R&D just about every 12 months and more than quite a few yrs has ranked on quite a few lists of Greatest Locations to Operate. It would make feeling that Goodnight is hunting to move on this organization he crafted to a caretaker who would continue its legacy into the next forty five yrs rather than subsume it and its culture.

I interviewed Goodnight only at the time back in 2017, and throughout that dialogue he was much less fascinated in talking about his software’s new abilities and most fascinated in talking about components and chips, and how improvements in that independent but related space would guide to improvements in analytics. I am not the only tech journalist who has listened to Goodnight specific deep interest in the components aspect of the technological know-how.

Broadcom could have been a surprise as a suitor for SAS, but maybe the idea of a semiconductor organization or one more sort of components organization is not so farfetched. A customer with no overlap in products and solutions would possibly mean layoffs could be minimized.

Perhaps a semiconductor organization with a equivalent culture (which is a little something Broadcom lacked) and an interest in what components can do to progress AI and analytics will eventually come to be the sort of suitor that Goodnight would want as the caretaker of the SAS culture and mission for the next forty five yrs.

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Jessica Davis is a Senior Editor at InformationWeek. She addresses business IT management, professions, synthetic intelligence, information and analytics, and business computer software. She has invested a occupation masking the intersection of company and technological know-how. Observe her on twitter: … View Whole Bio

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