The CEO of $13 billion Citrix says it’s ‘flattering’ that there are so many rumors that it’s going to get acquired: It shows ‘we’re important’ (CTXS, MSFT, VMW, ORCL)

Ever since he took over as CEO of Citrix two years ago, David Henshall has had to deal with a recurring rumor about the cloud software giant — that it’s about to be sold to potential buyers like Microsoft. Indeed, as recently as April, it was reported that the company was looking for a buyer…

The CEO of $13 billion Citrix says it’s ‘flattering’ that there are so many rumors that it’s going to get acquired: It shows ‘we’re important’ (CTXS, MSFT, VMW, ORCL)

Ever since he took over as CEO of Citrix two years ago, David Henshall has had to deal with a recurring rumor about the cloud software giant — that it’s about to be sold to potential buyers like Microsoft. Indeed, as recently as April, it was reported that the company was looking for a buyer willing to pay $15 billion, which would be a premium of about $2 billion over its present market cap. “The topic has come up dozens of times over the years,” Henshall told Business Insider. And he’s come up with an upbeat way to explain such potentially disquieting chatter to his employees. “What I tell our team is that the speculation is a reflection of how successful we’ve been in building relationships with enterprise customers around the world,” he said. “The speculation is flattering. It means we’re doing something right. We’re an important part of the industry.” A market leader Citrix certainly plays a key role in the enterprise tech market. It is the number-one provider of virtual client computing software, which lets the IT department provide employees access to virtual PCs hosted from their network. Citrix controlled 34.2% of that $4.5 billion market in 2018, followed by Microsoft with 20.7%, VMware with 19.2%, Amazon with 5.6%, and Huawei with 1.4%, according to IDC. Founded in 1989, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based company is also one of the pioneers of software-as-a-service, which transformed business applications into a web-based service sold based on subscription or pay-per-use models. But Citrix went through big changes recently — changes that were at times rocky and which in part led to speculation that it may be an acquisition target. The company went through layoffs and the departures of key execs in 2015. Then two years ago, the company spun off its GoTo line of online meeting products, and then merged the new corporate entity with remote desktop company LogMeIn. Later that year, Citrix made the surprising announcement that then-CEO Kirill Tatarinov, who took over the previous year, was leaving, a change described as a “mutual separation decision” by the board and Tatarinov. He was replaced by Henshall, a Citrix veteran who has served as the firm’s chief financial officer and chief operating officer. All the while, those acquisition rumors have swirled. Cloud computing explosion Citrix has benefited from the growing push towards cloud computing: Its products and services are especially well-suited to helping employees access their work apps and data from any device, including their smartphones. “Over the last five to six ye
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