SAS Likely to Go Public
- By Scott Bekker
On the same day SAS Institute released the news that its 1999 revenues surpassed $1 billion, CEO Jim Goodnight announced to attendees of a customer conference that the company is likely to go public sometime during the next year and a half.
SAS' revenues were reportedly the highest they have ever been, and its data warehousing software contributed to 60 percent of those earnings. Despite the company's huge earnings, after 23 years, it is still privately owned -- although that may soon change.
At a customer meeting recently Goodnight discussed the likelihood of SAS going public, stating that that he has promised his employees the company will go IPO. The public announcement of SAS' intentions may be an attempt to block recent rumors that a number of SAS employees have received offers including stock options from other publicly traded companies. SAS' current employee turnover rate is about 4 percent, a number much lower than most other technology companies. The high loyalty rates are likely due to the family-emphasized atmosphere at SAS. It is widely known that the Cary, North Carolina-based company offers its 3,500 employees child care, cafeterias, a fitness center and strict nine-to-five business hours.
While fear of losing control of the company is an issue SAS must consider, Goodnight says he has been in talks with some financial firms for the past few years, and promises that the company will go public. --Alicia Costanza
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.