Business software IPOs hope to trump market woes

NEW YORK, Fri Jun 8, 2012 – Data analysis software company Tableau Software and developer tools maker Atlassian are among several small, business software firms preparing to go public in the next 12 months, hoping a growing market for cloud computing will shield them from the aftermath of Facebook’s botched IPO and Europe’s woes.

Sources familiar with the situation said others include: AppSense, whose user virtualization technology allows people to use different devices; Marin Software, which offers an online advertising management platform; Rapid7, which makes network security software; Rally Software, a provider of project management tools; and CollabNet, which offers web-based software development tools.

These business software companies join other tech firms that are also looking to go public. Cloud-based phone systems provider RingCentral is close to picking bankers, sources familiar with the situation said. Ruckus Wireless, which supplies Wi-Fi products to mobile operators, has chosen Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs as its lead underwriters, the sources said.

All the seven business software companies offer products for the software as a service, or SaaS, market, in which software and associated data are hosted on remote servers, or the cloud. This segment of the market has been increasing in popularity because it is viewed as less costly and easier to implement than traditional hosting methods.

Tech behemoths including Oracle Corp, SAP AG and IBM Corp have spent billions to buy such companies in the past two years. The overall market for enterprise software grew 9.5 percent to $267 billion in 2011 and is expected to top $288 billion this year, according to Gartner.

That means these companies may form one bright spot in an otherwise moribund market for initial public offerings. U.S. IPOs, excluding Facebook, are down 53 percent this year, according to Thomson Reuters data. Facebook’s IPO last month further added to the chill as market problems at debut and the subsequent fall in its share price burned scores of investors.

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