Broadcom in talks to buy software firm SAS

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Broadcom Inc. is in talks to buy SAS Institute Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, in the latest move by the acquisitive technology giant to beef up in enterprise software.

A deal, which would value closely held SAS in the range of $15 billion to $20 billion, could be finalized in the coming weeks assuming the talks don’t fall apart, the people said. That number is so-called enterprise value, some of the people said, which typically includes assumed debt and is adjusted for cash on the target’s balance sheet.

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Broadcom has a market value of nearly $200 billion after its shares have risen around 50% over the past year.

Broadcom, a semiconductor powerhouse built largely through acquisitions, has been on the hunt for more deals since former President Trump blocked its quest to buy rival Qualcomm Inc. in 2018, citing security risks. Broadcom has since moved its headquarters from Singapore to the U.S.

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Broadcom Chief Executive Hock Tan has been focused on diversifying beyond the company’s core chip business and pushing into the lucrative software arena. In 2018, he struck a roughly $19 billion deal to buy software firm CA Technologies, formerly Computer Associates. The following year, Broadcom agreed to buy Symantec Corp.’s enterprise business for roughly $10.7 billion.

Cary, N.C.-based SAS sells analytics, business-intelligence and data-management software. It traces its roots back to the 1960s, when universities teamed up to analyze troves of agricultural data through a program called the Statistical Analysis System, according to its website. Incorporated in 1976, the company now has over 12,000 employees and customers around the world. It is still run by co-founders Jim Goodnight and John Sall.

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Big technology firms have been laser-focused on expanding software businesses, with Salesforce.com Inc. last year agreeing to buy messaging company Slack Technologies Inc. for $27.7 billion, and Microsoft Corp. earlier this year agreeing to pay $16 billion for Nuance Communications Inc.

The latest potential deal comes as large potential mergers and acquisitions have been thrown into question, especially in the technology sector, as executives and deal makers monitor the Biden administration’s plans to curb industry consolidation and be tougher on tech giants.

Write to Cara Lombardo at [email protected] and Dana Cimilluca at [email protected]

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