SeaMicro - Moment of Decision
This case, GSB No. E-459, explores the SeaMicro CEO’s decision of whether or not to sell the company in early 2012. SeaMicro, a developer of low-power servers, has risen quickly as an innovative and significant force in a server market dominated by giants, including HP and Dell. In the fall of 2011, the company is approached by AMD, the industry’s second largest microprocessor manufacturer behind Intel. AMD has faced challenging times in the recent past and is looking to acquire SeaMicro as a way to reinvent itself and establish a leadership position in the rapidly growing cloud computing space. Andrew Feldman, SeaMicro’s CEO, must consider the implications of his decision to sell in the context of a variety of factors including his fiduciary duty to his investors and employees, other strategic opportunities with the likes of Dell, Samsung and ARM, and his own future.
The case highlights the challenging decision faced by a founder/CEO of whether and when to sell his/her company. The various issues associated with the decision include communications with various stakeholders, before and after acquisition; the process by which the decision gets made; the implications for strategic partnerships; and the terms by which the deal is a win-win for both parties.