Among today's myriad headlines about the world's roiling financial markets, the Fed's emergency rate cut, Davos commentary, etc, a "hard tech news" item about HP (NYSE HPQ) making another software acquisition, this time a Lexington, KY-based firm named Exstream Software, may be easy to look past, at least at first glance. (Well, I did anyway.)
But this one's dead-on in the Enterprise Printing arena, specifically Variable Data Printing space, and HP's well-prepared information web site tells an interesting story that is worth reviewing. Statements like "this strategic acquisition will represent a cornerstone investment for IPG’s [HP's Imaging and Printing Group] Enterprise segment and positions HP as a leader in the enterprise document automation space" strongly express HP's commitment and strategic direction.
As far as the timing on the news, what can you do? Reminds me of my time working on the HP/Indigo acquisition team, and being excited and ready to go with press release and official announcement just after Labor Day, 2001. The announcement did come, for the deal that was arguably the first major step in this same broad Variable Data Printing space that today's deal extends, but the timing? Tech historians will remember that the HP/Compaq acquisition story broke that same early September weekend in 2001, followed a few days later by tumultuous world events that put today's perceived woes in a little perspective.