Vista Takes Duck Private . . . More Deals to Come?

Today it was announced that Vista Equity Partners will take Duck Creek Technologies private. The transaction values Duck at about $2.6 billion. Duck is a publicly traded company that IPO’d in August 2022. Its market capitalization (i.e., valuation) peaked around $7 billion in 2021. The company’s valuation was below $2 billion last week before this deal with Vista was announced.

This made me think about Vista buying Salesloft for $2.3 billion in December 2021. Salesloft was a private company doing somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million in annual recurring revenue.

We can’t do an apples-to-apples comparison of the two companies. For example, Duck reported $80 million in revenue last quarter, of which $27 million was professional services revenue and likely not recurring. Salesloft is private, so we don’t know the details of its $100 million in annual recurring revenue. But the Duck transaction shows that Vista is buying a public company for around the same valuation they paid for a private company a year ago.

Last year, I thought that low valuations of great public companies would make them attractive acquisition targets. I didn’t see this play out last year, but I suspect we’ll see it this year if valuations stay depressed. Vista’s deal for Duck could get things going. If this happens, great public tech companies trading below a $2 billion market cap could see increased interest.