Tampa-based Tribridge wasn't seeking a strategic partner when it was acquired in July.
At the time, the company wouldn't even share its books with any strategic partners, only with private equity firms, says Tribridge founder and CEO Tony DiBenedetto. He assumed a strategic partner was only interested in finding out the company's secret sauce.
What convinced DiBenedetto otherwise was a call from one of DXC Technology's top executives. It wasn't a typical call from someone interested in buying a company, DiBenedetto recently said, speaking at the Tampa Bay Innovation Center's Diary of an Entrepreneur event held Nov. 14. (DiBenedetto was also profiled in the Business Observer Nov. 10)
Rather than working to push down the value of the company by telling DiBenedetto what could be improved, the executive took a different approach, “he told us how great we were,” DiBenedetto says. Within 30 days, there was a solid term sheet for the deal. DXC, he adds, also valued Tribridge 10% higher than the value placed on it by private equity firms.
The approach is something DiBenedetto says he wish he would have done more of in Tribridge's strategic acquisitions — which played a big role in the company's growth before being bought last summer.
Since it was founded in 1998, Tribridge would determine an area to focus in, and then find a company that specialized in the skills that it lacked. “We wanted to buy something that did not have the sales capability, was a little undervalued, and would give us a starter kit” into an area where the company wanted to grow, DiBenedetto says.
The strategy worked: Tribridge, now named Tribridge, A DXC Technology company, is expected to reach $180 million in revenue this year.
A key part of a successful acquisition, DiBenedetto adds, is allowing a company to continue to do what makes it successful. It becomes dangerous when, as the buying company, he says you “think you know better because you are bigger.”