Home » America’s richest Black billionaire Robert F. Smith’s firm sells Apptio to IBM for $4.6 billion

America’s richest Black billionaire Robert F. Smith’s firm sells Apptio to IBM for $4.6 billion

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Robert F. Smith

Vista Equity Partners, the global technology investment firm led by America’s richest Black billionaire, Robert F. Smith, has agreed to sell software company Apptio to International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) in a deal valued at $4 billion.

The decision to sell Apptio comes after IBM’s announcement of a planned investment of up to $5 billion to acquire the software company.

Vista Equity initially acquired Apptio in 2018 for $1.94 billion, taking the company private at a premium of 53 percent over its stock price at the time. Since then, the firm, specializing in online IT budget management, forecasting, and analysis services, has flourished, attracting high-profile clients and driving innovation in its product offerings.

The sale of Apptio showcases Vista Equity’s investment discipline and focus on value creation. Despite the considerable decrease in exit activity within the private equity industry, the firm has maintained its momentum.

Since its establishment in 2000, Vista Equity Partners, under the leadership of Smith, has rapidly emerged as a dominant force in the technology sector, with assets totaling more than $96 billion and an impressive annual return rate of 22 percent.

Vista Equity has been highly active in the technology sector recently, completing 18 monetization events since Nov. 30, 2021. These events include full and partial exits, recapitalization, block sales, and a follow-on offering, generating a total value of $18.0 billion. 

Since 2021 under Smith, a prominent technology investor who became the richest Black American in 2018 after surpassing Oprah Winfrey, Vista Equity has realized $14.3 billion through monetization, including co-investment, with $3.7 billion in unrealized value yet to be captured.

The sale of Apptio to IBM signifies a strategic move by both companies to strengthen their positions in the technology market. The deal is expected to significantly impact the industry, given the reputation and expertise of Vista Equity and the global reach of IBM.

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