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July 13, 2021

SAS No Longer Exploring Sale to Broadcom: Report

(Casimiro PT/Shutterstock)

News broke Monday that SAS Institute was considering selling itself to Broadcom, the $24-billion chip maker. But leaders of the privately held analytics giant have changed their minds, according to a report today in the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ broke the news Monday that SAS co-founders Jim Goodnight and John Sall were considering selling the Cary, North Carolina-based company to Broadcom, the Silicon Valley-based company that has grown through acquisitions, including CA Technologies

Citing unnamed sources, the deal was potentially valuing SAS, which has more than 12,000 employees, in the $15 billion to $20 billion range, the WSJ reported on Monday.

However, the deal has apparently fallen apart, as Goodnight and Sall reportedly had a change of heart and decided not to sell the company to Broadcom.

Questions about whether SAS would be a good fit for Broadcom emerged almost immediately. Broadcom, which traces its roots to the semiconductor division of Hewlett-Packard, has grown quickly over the years through aggressive business deals.  It was known as Avago Technologies for many years, before becoming merging with Broadcom in 2016 and taking that time.

In 2017, a hostile takeover attempt by Broadcom (then based in Singapore) of mobile chipmaker Qualcomm for $130 billion utimately failed, in part due to a veto by President Donal Trump, citing national security concerns of the deal. In 2018, Broadcom acquired CA Technologies for nearly $19 billion.

SAS CEO Jim Goodnight

Goodnight has been at the helm of SAS since 1976, the year he co-founded it with other faculty. Over that time, SAS grew to be the dominant provider of analytics software for business around the world. Only in recent years, with the rise of open source R and, especially, Python, has SAS’s dominance in the field of statistical computing been challenged.

Speculation about the future of the company has grown over the years. Oliver Schabenberger appeared to be the favorite to succeed CEO Goodnight (age 78) by simultaneously holding the COO, CTO, and executive vice president positions at SAS. But Schabenberger left SAS earlier this year to become the chief innovation officer at database maker SingleStore (formerly MemSQL).

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