Borland, the one-time Microsoft rival originally founded in 1983 in a space over a garage in Scotts Valley , has agreed to be acquired by Micro Focus for $1 a share. Excluding Borland’s $8 million of net cash and short term investments, the deal is valued at $67 million. The purchase price represented a 25 percent premium to Borland’s 80-cent per-share price the day before the deal was announced.
The company was founded by Phillipe Kahn, one of Silicon Valley’s most colorful CEOs. An accomplished flute player, he used to record jazz CDs that he would then send as holiday gifts to friends, employees and customers. He started Borland while he was visiting from France on a tourist visa, and helped it become a major software contender, offering a variety of productivity applications, including the Quattro Pro spreadsheet program we first crunched our numbers on here at the Mercury News in the late 1980s.
Kahn bootstrapped Borland without the use of venture funding. The company’s first major product was Turbo Pascal, a programming language. Its SideKick desktop organizing program, which created a new category of software that added crucial features to more expensive applications, made it a hit with users of IBM’s personal computers.
Borland competed with Microsoft in the late 80s and early 90s offering PC development tools as well as word processing, data base and spreadsheet applications that went toe-to-toe with the software giant’s products such as Word, Access and Excel.
Kahn himself was forced out as chief executive in 1995 over disagreements with the company’s board about Borland’s focus. The company eventually moved from the Bay Area to relocate in Texas.
There is a certain symmetry to the company being acquired by Micro Focus, which is based in the United Kingdom. When Kahn first took Borland public in 1986, he chose to do so on the London Stock Exchange.