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CommVault says will go it alone, despite M&A buzz

By Nadia Damouni

NEW YORK (Reuters) - CommVault Systems Inc has managed to skirt rampant consolidation in the fast-growing storage software market, and CEO Bob Hammer is planning to keep it that way.

CommVault, which has a market value of about $2.3 billion, is considered one of the few acquisition targets left in the publicly traded storage software space.

Hewlett-Packard Co, IBM Corp and Dell Inc each spent billions of dollars last year buying CommVault's rivals, including 3Par Inc, Isilon Systems Inc and Compellent Technologies Inc, to build out their data centers.

This week CommVault pulled out of a trade conference in Dana Point, California -- a move often seen as a sign that strategic change, such as potential takeover discussions, is in the works.

But Hammer, in an interview with Reuters, said he is focused on growing the New Jersey-based company's annual revenues over the next five years to about $1 billion from roughly $400 million now.

"Whatever happens on the M&A side, our mission is clear -- create shareholder value on our own as an independent company," Hammer said.

He did not, however, rule out forming more business partnerships along the way. CommVault already has partnerships with Dell, under which the two develop products, including data protection software GalaxyExpress. It also has partnerships with Hitachi Data Systems and NetApp Inc.

"If we can add a strategic partner that has some meaning to enable the company to grow, we will do that," Hammer said. "There are some opportunities that may come to fruition that will enable us to do that."

Hammer, who is 69 and is also CommVault's chairman and president, said the company was undertaking succession planning -- a pressing question within the company and among investors -- but he did not say when any changes would be announced.

CommVault develops a unified suite of data and information management software applications under the Simpana brand. The software comes with features such as data backup and recovery, archiving and replication.

Last week, the company revealed enhancements to its Simpana 9 software, making it the first server-backup vendor to provide access from mobile devices to files that have been stored on PCs. It also beat analysts' expectations for its third-quarter results, posting 24 percent growth in revenue to $103.6 million.

Several large technology companies have been looking to bring such products in-house to sell clients integrated products, making companies such as CommVault attractive acquisition targets.

Michael Turits, a technology analyst at Raymond James, said that for a large technology company, CommVault would make a "great acquisition."

Turits said CommVault would be able to better compete within a larger organization with the likes of Symantec Corp, EMC Corp and IBM, which have far more resources.

(Reporting By Nadia Damouni; additional reporting by Soyoung Kim; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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