$4.5B acquisition - that’s big news regardless of where the company is located. In the 16+ years since Mercury was founded, it grew to become one of the icons of Israel’s hi-tech industry. Something that all start-ups aspired to, the pride and joy of our software industry.
When I joined the company in ‘90, it was a teeny start-up, situated “the villa” in Herzelia. In our wildest dreams, we wouldn’t have imagined that it would be valued at $4.5B (I sometimes dream what would’ve happened if I wouldn’t have sold my stock….).
It’s not new news. Rumors have been out for a long time (even I blogged about it back in May). Mark Hurd and Sandeep Johari say numerous times that “HP is going to make some moves in software that are much larger”… But today, it was made official.
So why bittersweet?
- When I see headlines that say HP buys troubled Mercury Interactive, I get a knot in my stomach. Mercury was a great company, who’s reputation was severely tarnished recently by the whole options-backdating issue. Yes, the company had troubles, but I don’t like to think of it as troubled, and am saddened that this is the final chapter in this great story.
- Software continues to consolidate. Mercury was a potential acquiror of start-ups, so as far as I’m concerned, that’s one less player in the market.
- I liked having a great Israeli company to brag about. Talking about part of HP’s OpenView management software division doesn’t quite have the same impact for me.
I’m sure there are lots of good things that this will ultimately bring to the shareholders, directors and officers of the company. However, right now, I can’t seem to think of them.