Perforce now pulls Puppet's strings: Takeover announced

What looked like Plan B is now Plan A for config management biz

Perforce, a Minnesota-based maker of DevOps software, on Monday announced the acquisition of Puppet, an Oregon-based maker of configuration management tools, for an undisclosed sum.

Puppet had been planning to go public in 2021 and announced management additions to help that happen in November, 2020. Ending up within the embrace of Perforce looks like Plan B, though CEO Yvonne Wassenaar in a rambling blog post makes the detour sound as if it had always been the destination.

"What began as a journey to address our customers' needs through increased investment in Puppet has emerged as a compelling opportunity to join forces with Perforce Software," Wassenaar wrote.

Too many of the corporations in our world are already too big. But this was the right outcome for Puppet and its people

Likewise, Luke Kanies, Puppet's founder and executive chairperson, cast the corporate commingling as a positive outcome while hinting that he might have preferred seeing Puppet go public.

"I'm frankly not a huge fan of acquisitions," he said via Twitter. "Too many of the corporations in our world are already too big."

"But this was the right outcome for Puppet and its people. Perforce will be a great home, and we'll help them as much as they'll help us."

Kanies added that whether he likes it or not, DevOps has changed since Puppet was founded in 2005.

"Companies are looking for a complete solution, rather than wanting to integrate individual best of breed vendors," he said. "And the world is shifting in lots of other ways, not all of which we've done well at following."

The Register asked Perforce to elaborate on how DevOps has changed but a response wasn't immediately forthcoming.

The acquisition of Puppet leaves only a few stand-alone makers of configuration management software, like CFEngine, still operating. Ansible was acquired by Red Hat in 2015. Chef was acquired by Progress Software in 2020. And Saltstack was acquired by VMware in 2020. HashiCorp, meanwhile, with its Terraform and Vagrant configuration management tools, managed to go public.

Perforce boss: 'I'm just the cook', flips firm to private equity

FROM 2016

Mark Ties, CEO of Perforce, described the tie-up as a way to expand Perforce's products by offering new capabilities to DevOps teams.

"With Puppet, we will be providing our customers with access to a product portfolio that enables them to drive innovation on a global scale," said Ties in a statement. "We look forward to welcoming the Puppet team and continuing to offer the level of customer support, services, and community Puppet has established in the market."

Perforce's statement indicates that the combined firm will focus on software automation for enterprise customers, including 40 of the Fortune 50. The firm notes that as of the end of 2021, 85 per cent of the world's largest banks and 80 per cent of the world's top technology organizations use Puppet.

Wassenaar's post provides a FAQs section that explains the deal will add Puppet's 500 employees to Perforce's existing 1,200 person workforce.

The Register asked whether Perforce – owned by private equity firms Clearlake Capital and Francisco Partners – might end up firing some folks, often a consequence of such deals, once the acquisition closes in Q2 2022.

We've not heard back. ®

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