Avi Networks CEO on the anatomy of the tech company sale

Amit Pandey is CEO of load balancing firm Avi Networks, which is being acquired by VMware

I met Avi Networks CEO Amit Pandey on a warm late-June day at the Cinnamon Club, the crack Indian restaurant located in a former library opposite the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London. Most CEOs I've met don't tend to drink over lunch (unlike the journalists who interrogate them) but Pandey takes a glass of wine with his meal. Good for him, he deserves it and it probably tastes all the better for his having agreed to sell the company a couple of weeks earlier to VMware.

Over the course of the next hour and a bit, Pandey was happy to discuss his rationale for the deal and to talk through the complex business of mergers and acquisitions along the way. The following is a summary of his thoughts with my own commentary as a gloss.

Be in the right area

Pandey thinks that Avi chose its network load balancing market wisely.

"There's not been a lot of investment in load balancing for the last 10 to 20 years. F5 has a great product but it was getting long in the tooth [and] when F5 came into the market, VMware didn't exist."

By modernising the load balancer for the post-VMware virtualised world and focusing on areas such as support for multi-cloud environments and ease of management, Pandey says the approach was attractive to suitors.

The deployment model Avi settled on was also in line with the zeitgeist. "[Several years ago] I was at NetApp and we were so smug about appliances," he recalls. "By 2012 when Avi was founded, that had flipped on its head to use commodity hardware with speciality software."

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