Tibco CEO says company not for sale

NEW YORK/BOSTON (Reuters) - Tibco Software Inc TIBX.O is not seeking a buyer, its chief executive said on Tuesday, a day after its shares surged on speculation that German software maker SAP AG SAPG.DE might buy the company.

“Tibco is not actively looking for a buyer,” Chief Executive Vivek Ranadive told Reuters in an interview. His comment sent Tibco shares down more than 4 percent.

Shares of Tibco had soared as much as 17 percent on Monday amid speculation that the company was up for sale, as dealmaking among technology companies has been heating up.

Earlier this week, VMware Inc VMW.N agreed to buy privately held SpringSource for $420 million. Last month, storage company EMC Corp EMC.N outbid rival NetApp IncNTAP.O to win Data Domain Inc DDUP.O for $2.4 billion.

Also in July, International Business Machines Corp IBM.N agreed to buy software maker SPSS Inc for $1.2 billion after losing Sun Microsystems Inc JAVA.O to Oracle Corp ORCL.O, which is getting ready to close its $7.4 billion purchase of the Java software maker.

Ranadive did not rule out a deal, saying that the board would act in the best interests of its shareholders if approached by a suitor.

Still, his comments suggested that he would prefer to keep Tibco, which he founded in 1985, independent.

“I would rather work for Tibco than anybody else,” said Ranadive, a Harvard Business School MBA. He added that he was bullish about the company’s growth as an independent company during the next several quarters.

Jefferies & Co analyst Katherine Egbert said she believes Ranadive is not interested in selling.

“When the CEO comes out and says they are not for sale, it does not sound like anything is imminent,” Egbert said.

She added that rumors have surfaced off and on for years that Tibco was for sale, but no deal has occurred.

A German weekly reported on August 8 that SAP was mulling a bid for Tibco, citing unidentified sources.

Tibco makes programs that help computer systems communicate with each other and quickly analyze vast quantities of data. Its competitors include IBM, Oracle, Software AG SOWG.DE and Sun Microsystems.

Shares in the Palo Alto, California-based Tibco fell 4 percent to $9.20 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq stock market. The stock hit a 52-week high of $9.87 on Monday.

Reporting by Anupreeta Das and Jim Finkle; Editing by Robert MacMillan and Gerald E. McCormick