Hyperion Hits the Ground Running

Hyperion will resell several Brio products before its acquisition is complete

When you’re embarking on any difficult project, it’s always best to hit the ground running. That’s pretty much what Hyperion Solutions Corp. did when it announced a decision to immediately begin reselling Brio Software Inc.’s products before the two companies had officially finalized the acquisition.

To recap: Hyperion snapped up Brio for just over $142 million in late July. The deal gave OLAP pioneer Hyperion, which is attempting to transform itself into a business process management vendor, its own business intelligence tool stack.

The sales agreement the two companies is important because it lets Hyperion effectively jumpstart the integration process while providing its sales force with exposure to Brio’s product line. In a climate in which many such mega-mergers ultimately fail or deliver disappointing results, this is an important first step, analysts say.

Because of securities restrictions, the two companies must remain separate entities until the acquisition is finalized later this year.

In this regard, says Mike Schiff, a senior analyst with consultancy Current Analysis, the reseller agreement is a “clever work-around” which allows Hyperion to begin immediately offering Brio’s products as its own.

For the record, Hyperion announced that it will begin reselling Brio’s SQR enterprise reporting engine; Intelligence Web-based ad hoc query, reporting, and analysis tool; and Metrics Builder, a Web-based dashboard. With the exception of Hyperion Intelligence—which Brio markets as Intelligence iServer—Brio’s products will retain the brand names that customers are familiar with.

If nothing else, Schiff suggests, Hyperion’s move should help to reassure Brio customers that it intends to sell and support Brio’s applications after the acquisition is completed. “[This] move … provides evidence of Hyperion’s intent to continue to support and actively market these products once the acquisition is completed and allows Hyperion to market them under the same name it is selling them under today,” he points out.

Analysts have noted that there’s not a great deal of overlap between Hyperion’s and Brio’s respective product sets. That’s in stark contrast to the other big acquisition of this summer, when Business Objects ponied up $820 million for Crystal Decisions. Analyst firm META Group has suggested that Business Objects will have its work cut out for it as the company attempts to integrate Crystal’s products, sales teams, and corporate culture with its own.

Because of their highly complementary product offerings, Schiff says, the agreement lets Hyperion immediately start plugging holes in its product line with Brio’s major products. “[I]t allows Hyperion to gain early experience with Brio’s technology and sales cycle while expanding the breadth and depth of products that Hyperion can immediately offer to prospects and customers,” he concludes.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.