Sync 'n' sod it: EMC might be shaping up to sell Syncplicity

Start of big changes for the Enterprise Content Division?


EMC is set to sell is Syncplicity file sync'n'share business to a private equity firm, according to a Bloomberg report.

Skyview Capital LLC is the aforementioned PE biz, and it says about itself: “We specialise in acquiring and unlocking unrealised potential within market-leading businesses across a variety of sectors.”

Permit us a brief digression here. One exec at Skyview is Jonathan Huberman, who was once the CEO of Iomega, the consumer external disk drive business bought by EMC in April 2008 for $213m.

In January 2013, Joe Tucci’s EMC set up a joint venture with Lenovo, called LenovoEMC, which contained the Iomega business. Lenovo had the majority stake in this joint venture.

Huberman left his position as president of EMC's consumer and small business products division several months before the JV, in March 2012. He became portfolio operations president at Skyview in February this year after a January 2013 to February 2015 stint as CEO at Tiburon, a public safety and security software supplier.

He was managing director at the Gores Group, a private equity investment firm and Tiburon’s sole investor before that.

Back to Syncplicity, which is EMC Information Infrastructure’s enterprise file synchronisation and sharing product, and which EMC bought in May 2012. Despite good efforts by EMC it hasn’t gained Box or Dropbox levels of prominence and is apparently unprofitable, though its bookings are growing 100 per cent year-on-year.

EMC will retain a stake and continue selling Syncplicity products to its customers after offloading it to Skyview.

The company doesn’t see Syncplicity as part of its core business and this offload, if true, could signal a possible change in the status of Documentum, a content management businesss grouped with Syncplicity and Infoarchive inside EMC II. The three belong to Rohit Ghai’s Enterprise Content Division (ECD). Historically Documentum has underperformed in a revenue sense for EMC II over many quarters, as we have pointed out often.

ECD became the new name for EMC II’s Information Intelligence Group in January this year, along with Ghai replacing previous boss Rick Devenuti. Could be a case of new division head, new strategy.

If true, the Syncplicity sell-off story could be the start of significant ECD changes.

We asked EMC to comment, and it declined. ®

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