A Battered Stock, a Bargain Buyout, and the Identity-Software Sector Gets a New Look

A Battered Stock, a Bargain Buyout, and the Identity-Software Sector Gets a New Look


Elias Stein

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Enterprise-software stocks have been beleaguered of late. But depressed valuations lure bargain-conscious private-equity buyers. On Wednesday,

Ping Identity
,
which sells identity-security software, announced a deal to be acquired by Thoma Bravo for $28.50 a share, or $2.8 billion. Ping went public at $15 a share in September 2019 and sold for an eye-popping 63% premium to Tuesday’s closing price.

Thoma Bravo has been a busy shopper. In June, the firm bought Anaplan for $10.4 billion in cash; in May, it paid $2.6 billion for payments-tech company Bottomline Technologies; and in April, it agreed to buy

SailPoint Technologies
,
which also sells identity software, for $6.9 billion. BTIG Holdings analyst Gray Powell notes that Thoma Bravo is paying about 6.5 times expected 2023 sales.

Okta
,
a Ping rival, trades for 6.8 times, while

ForgeRock
,
another peer, for 5.8. The SailPoint deal, Powell adds, was priced at just over 10 times 2023 sales.

Powell says Ping’s term-license business model “has consistently created confusion in results and causes a higher degree of headline risk,” which leads him to believe no other bidder will emerge. Raymond James analyst Adam Tindle sees synergies between Ping and Thoma Bravo’s pending SailPoint deal.

The Ping deal had collateral effects: Okta, a pandemic darling that has struggled, rose 7.8% to $105.52, while ForgeRock, which went public in 2021 at $25 a share, jumped 8.8% to $23.65. By Friday, Ping shares traded just under the deal price at $27.92. Okta is still down 53% for the year, and ForgeRock is off 11%.

Write to Eric J. Savitz at eric.savitz@barrons.com

Last Week

Your Basic Draw

Stocks wavered over Taiwan tensions, fell after Federal Reserve officials reiterated hawkish sentiments, then rose on earnings. New jobless claims came in at 260,000, as expected; new jobs were a blowout, at 528,000. On the week, the


Dow Jones Industrial Average

was off 0.13% to 32,803.47; the


S&P 500

edged up 0.36% to 4145.19; and the


Nasdaq Composite

rose 2.15% to 12,657.55.

The Earnings Beat

As a busy earnings week began,

Goldman Sachs

said 52% of companies had beaten, above expectations but below the last five quarters.

Devon Energy

led the shale-energy crowd with soaring profits and revenue. Big-oil

BP

posted its best profits in 14 years.

KKR

took a loss, blaming market volatility.

Robinhood Markets

lost $295 million and cut its workforce by 23%, and

Airbnb

missed.

Starbucks

and

CVS Health

beat,

Uber Technologies

reported its first positive quarterly cash flow, and

Moderna

and

PayPal

beat and stocks rallied.

Pelosi in Taiwan

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a delegation of lawmakers visited Taiwan, despite rising tensions over the trip between the U.S. and China. After Pelosi left Taipei, China began live-fire drills off the coast, boycotted some Taiwanese products, and halted military and climate talks. Separately, a U.S. drone strike killed al-Queda leader Ayman al Zawahiri, 71, on a balcony in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Senate in Action

The Senate passed a bill it had rejected a week earlier providing funds for Afghan war veterans exposed to burn pits. Democrats dropped a curb on carried interest in the tax and climate bill to get Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s backing. And Kansas voters defeated a referendum to ban abortion in the state.

Getting the Grain Out

A ship carrying 26,000 tons of corn left Odessa for Lebanon—the first in a deal with Russia over grain shipments. Ukraine pressed its counteroffensive against Kherson as Russia continued to prepare to annex the region. A Russian court sentenced WNBA star Brittney Griner to nine years on drug charges.

Annals of Deal Making

The Justice Department tried to block two deals in separate trials at the same Washington, D.C., courthouse: the $2.2 billion merger of Bertelesmann’s Penguin Random House and

Paramount Global
’s
Simon & Schuster, and

UnitedHealth Group
’s
$8 billion deal for

Change Healthcare

…Global Payments said it would acquire

EVO Payments

for an enterprise value of $4 billion…

Toronto-Dominion Bank

agreed to acquire investment bank

Cowen

for $1 billion…The Wall Street Journal reported cosmetic giant

Estée Lauder

was in talks to buy luxury brand Tom Ford…An

Apollo Global Management

-led group agreed to buy airfreight company Atlas Air Worldwide for $3.2 billion…Thoma Bravo said it was taking

Ping Identity

private for $2.8

billion…Amazon.com

said it was vacuuming up

iRobot

for $1.65 billion.

Write to Robert Teitelman at bob.teitelman@dowjones.com

#Battered #Stock #Bargain #Buyout #IdentitySoftware #Sector

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