Buyouts in Austin

Post by
Scott Francis

Lots of news around a few major buyouts in Austin recently - in particular HomeAway by Expedia, and Retail Me Not being bought out by Harland Clarke Holdings Corp - and the Statesman covers it well.

It's hard to hold it against these companies, as public entities, selling for significant premiums to their share prices.? They would have a hard time resisting such pressure as public companies.? Lots of smaller companies get snapped up as well.? We also could have mentioned a host of companies that have been taken private in PE transactions.

But worrying about Austin alone is also ignoring what is going on generally in the world around us. There are fewer public companies today, as many companies are acquired or taken private.

But there's little point bemoaning that RetailMeNot or HomeAway were denied the chance to be Facebook or Google - if the leaders and investors in those firms felt that they could achieve the size or scale of those companies they no doubt would not have sold the firm.

There are no guarantees that today's startups in Austin break the trend and become behemoths.? But there are no guarantees that the next behemoth is in any similar collection or number of companies. We'll just have to wait to see how it turns out.? Meanwhile, I'm with Josh Baer on this one:

?Compare us to any place other than Silicon Valley or New York and we look great. Other cities want to be us,? Baer said. ?Yes, we could use more money, and yes, some people sell too early. But how many people have it better than us? Not too many."

No sense complaining!

I guess I can afford to be sanguine about this subject because our goal at BP3 is to build a great business- and that doesn't necessarily entail going public, getting huge, or selling to another firm.? But if BP3's story ends in one of those outcomes, we'll be better off for having run the kind of business we're proud to be part of.

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