Verint beats out NICE to buy Witness Systems

Published 15 February 2007

Deal comes as Verint itself is an acquisition target by IBM; $950 million cash offer wins out; company poised to hold its own in the military and civilian data analytics markets

It is not every day that two Israeli companies are the leading contenders in an acquisition race to buy an American one. Yet that is exactly what happened this week when systems analytics firm Verint (now based in Melville, New York) defeated Ra’anana, Israel-based NICE Systems to snatch up business intelligence software company Witness Systems for $950 million in cash. The price per share, $27.50, reflects a 21 percent premium on Witness’ market capitlazation, and Comverse Technology, which controls 57 percent of Verint, provided financing for the deal, as did a consortium composed of Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank, and Credit Suisse. “We have always operated in the defense and enterprise markets,” said Verint CEO Dan Bodner. “Our goal in acquiring Witness is to accelerate growth. If we consolidate the sales of both companies for 2006, we’ll reach $600 million.”

We note also that it was just recently that Verint itself was the subject of buyout rumors. As we reported at the time, IBM’s recent foray into the analytics market — its recent announcement of its S3 digital surveillance technology being the most prominent example — has caused it to consider a rapid expansion via a series of timely acquisitions. Of these, Verint was said by some analysts to be a ripe target. No word as of yet how the company’s purchase of Witness will change IBM’s calculations.

-read more in Omri Cohen’s Haaretz analysis