Almost a year ago, it was reported that a few PTC executives would profit big time should the company suffer a "change in control" -- business-speak for an acquisition (see Boston Business Journal, June 27, 2008). Sure enough, a few months later the story broke that PTC was up for sale (see FT.com story, Sep, 6, 2008).
At the PTC World Press and Analyst Days being held in Orlando, PTC is certainly not acting like a company up for sale. On the first day, there was a barrage of press releases, including news of significant enhancements to the core product as Pro/E Wildfire 5.0 was unveiled. Companies on the block don't typically acquire other companies -- and here was PTC buying Relex. Late last year, they bought Synapsis (see press release). Other announcements signified long term investment or at the very least, R&D expenditure. Not exactly "polishing the apple," as it were.
Could it be that PTC has given up looking for a buyer? After all, with this economy, the offers may not be pouring in. Or offers could be for a fraction of the price PTC was asking ($2 billion). Also, PTC may not have wanted to leave the company on sale for too long without attracting a serious buyer. Having a company too long on the block will by itself cause a devaluation as potential buyers think if no one else is interested, why should they be?
So as I meet with PTC's William Berutti on the subject of corporate strategy, I couldn't help but ask if PTC is still up for sale. Bill doesn't bat an eye. "We don't comment on acquisition rumors, however would we be doing the things we're doing if we were up for sale?," he asks rhetorically. He points out R&D has stayed on level spending and there were only minor cuts in personnel (4%, mostly in sales, marketing). We have 70 open job positions, he adds. Business as usual, Bill seems be saying.
What was I expecting? Getting a company executive to admit his company is for sale is as easy as nailing jello to the wall. It would deflate morale among employees. Valuable people would leave. Competitors would have a field day.
It might very well be that PTC is wading through the tough times, operating from a position of relative strength (its quarterly drop in revenue in percentage was much less than Autodesk's) so that it might try once again for a sale later as we come out of a recession.