Home » IBM to invest up to $5 billion in firm linked to America’s richest Black billionaire

IBM to invest up to $5 billion in firm linked to America’s richest Black billionaire

by Omokolade Ajayi
Robert F. Smith

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) is planning a significant investment of up to $5 billion to acquire software company Apptio, owned by Vista Equity Partners, a leading global technology investment firm helmed by Robert F. Smith, America’s richest Black billionaire.

Apptio specializes in online services that streamline information-technology budget management, forecasting, and analysis. This strategic move reflects IBM’s strong commitment to furthering its presence in the automation technology sector, capitalizing on Apptio’s extensive clientele, including numerous Fortune 100 companies.

Sources familiar with the matter reveal that IBM and Vista Equity Partners are currently in negotiations, with the purchase price for Apptio expected to range between $4.5 billion and $5 billion.

It remains uncertain whether the price includes any debt obligations associated with the acquisition. This transaction signifies a significant expansion of IBM’s offerings and aligns with its long-term strategy of using automation and cutting-edge software solutions to drive business growth and operational efficiency.

Vista Equity Partners, led by Smith, America’s richest Black billionaire, has rapidly established itself as a dominant force in the technology sector since its establishment in 2000. With more than $95 billion in assets and an impressive annual return of 22 percent, the firm has become one of the sector’s most active private equity investors.

In 2018, Vista Equity acquired Apptio for $1.94 billion in cash, taking the company private at a premium of 53 percent over its stock price at the time.

Under Vista’s ownership, Apptio has flourished, attracting high-profile clients and consistently driving innovation in its product offerings. Meanwhile, Robert F. Smith’s personal fortune had soared from $4.02 billion in November 2018, when Vista Equity acquired Apptio, to $12 billion today.

This remarkable increase further solidifies his status as America’s richest Black billionaire, highlighting his business acumen and the ongoing success of Vista Equity Partners.

IBM’s pursuit of Apptio represents a strategic bet on the future of automation and advanced software solutions. By integrating Apptio’s expertise and technology into its portfolio, IBM aims to strengthen its competitive advantage in the dynamic global technology landscape, positioning itself as a leader in automation technology.

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