The Adobe-Omniture deal: Does it Make Sense?

September 16th, 2009

This is the VERY obvious title I’ve pulled from a good ZDNet blog by Larry Dignan today.

Tonight I wrote to the Wall Street Journal reporters on the story (as there was no room for commenting):

“My first thought was that Adobe needed to spend a bunch of that cash they’ve got lying around to do something…anything…big time…to distract the investment community on what must now be 5 or 6 consecutive quarters of decreasing sales.

“Omniture is a strange buy as it does not relate to ANYTHING that Adobe is doing now (nor to its core mission). And they paid about twice what it’s worth. Based in Orem, Utah, the two corporate cultures should blend like oil and water.

“A desperate move in desperate times.

“I do modestly suggest that a little more critical analysis would benefit coverage of spending $1.8 billion by a public corporation with a high profile. Dear Shantanu is doing his best, but he’s an R&D man, unlike Bruce who preceded him, who was all sales and marketing.

“This move will be a huge goodwill write-off in the next few years, but may distract investors JUST LONG ENOUGH.”

I’m  in fact ashamed of Adobe with this purchase, and my shame is compounded by the price. If my sister brought Omniture home to dinner and introduced it as her new boyfriend, I’d leave the table.

As Dignan points out: “Most acquisitions make sense right away—with the exception of eBay-Skype and we know how that turned out—but I had trouble wrapping my head around the Adobe-Omniture deal. After sleeping on it, I admit I still don’t quite get the Omniture deal aside from the need for revenue diversification.”

Yes, and the alternative was pizza parlours.

Well,  time will no doubt tell. On the plus side I’ve always admired Adobe’s fine staff, from top to bottom, and I do wish them the best in this unconventional acquisition.

Update 9-17. More comment here.