Adobe can do big deals but prefers small

NEW YORK Wed May 21, 2008 7:26pm EDT

1 of 2. Shantanu Narayen, president and chief executive officer of Adobe Systems Inc., speaks during the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecom Summit in New York May 21, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Adobe Systems Inc (ADBE.O) has confidence it can integrate a big acquisition after buying Macromedia, but the maker of Photoshop and Illustrator software is focused on small companies with cutting edge technologies.

Adobe Chief Executive Shantanu Narayen said on Wednesday that while he is not interested in bargain hunting, he does like small companies with 10 to 50 employees that fill gaps in his company's technology,

"Our ability to integrate a large company like Macromedia gives us confidence should there be a suitable target," Narayen told the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit in New York.

Adobe bought Macromedia, known for its Flash Web video player and design tools, for about $3.4 billion in 2005.

However, the executive said the company is more focused on smaller acquisitions such as its recent purchase of Virtual Ubiquity, the maker of word processor Buzzword.

"We really like these small companies that fill out technology gaps." he said. "Expect to see us do more of these small acquisitions. That really is more the sweet spot of where we're looking."

Narayen also said he has not been approached by another company looking to buy Adobe, whose CS3 line of programs are used by photographers, graphic artists and other creative professionals.

Adobe is also the maker of Acrobat electronic document production software, which turns documents into PDF files that can be filled out and distributed over the Web.

ECONOMY

So far, the California-based software maker has been able to survive the U.S. economic slowdown without disappointing Wall Street.

On May 1, Adobe said it expected results for its fiscal second quarter, which runs through the end of May, to be at the high end of its previous forecast. The company also maintained its forecast for full fiscal year revenue and profit.

Narayen declined to say if the situation had changed since early May. But he attributed Adobe's resilience to its broad product mix and the fact that more than half of its revenue is made overseas.

He said Adobe plans to launch new products in the second half of the year, and their sales should fuel growth in 2009.

Still, he said that Adobe could suffer if the global economic situation worsens and large numbers of the creative professionals who use its programs lose their jobs.

"We're not recession proof and I've never stated that. I've said we are fairly diversified," Narayen said.

(For summit blog: summitnotebook.reuters.com/)

(Additional reporting by Sinead Carew and Ritsuko Ando, editing by Phil Berlowitz, Richard Chang)

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