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Data Analytics Giant SAS Eyes IPO By 2024

Two weeks after reports it was in talks to be acquired, SAS, one of the IT industry’s largest privately held companies, said Thursday that it is taking financial and operational steps in preparation to go public.

Advanced data analytics and AI software developer SAS Institute, one of the biggest privately held companies in the IT industry, is preparing for an initial public offering by 2024, the company said Thursday.

The announcement comes less than three weeks after SAS was reported to be in talks to be acquired by infrastructure giant Broadcom. Shortly after that reports said SAS had ended the acquisition talks.

In a statement SAS “announced its intention to be ready for an initial public offering by 2024.”

[Related: The Big Data 100 2021]

The company said that to become IPO-ready, “SAS will begin to take steps such as refining its financial reporting structure, streamlining certain operational processes, and enhancing its focus on the segments of its platform where the company can continue to succeed and grow to the benefit of its stakeholders.”

SAS said the company “will continue to invest significant sums in – and further develop – its AI capabilities and advanced analytics software and solutions, to continue to meet customer needs and extend its leadership in a growing, highly competitive and increasingly dynamic market.”

“By moving toward IPO readiness, we can open up new opportunities for SAS employees, customers, partners and our community to participate in our success, ensuring the brightest possible future for all of us,” said SAS co-founder and CEO Jim Goodnight (pictured) in the statement announcing the company’s plans.

“As an organization, we are on a solid path forward, with sustainable growth that continues to build upon the trusted brand and platform we have created. We have built a strong operational and financial foundation, setting us up for an even better future. Now, it’s time to prepare for this next chapter,” Goodnight said.

While SAS doesn’t disclose details about its financial performance, the statement said the company generated approximately $3 billion in revenue in 2020 and achieved its 45th consecutive year of profitability.

The company went on to say that it achieved 8.4 percent revenue growth in the first half of 2021, “demonstrating an increased need for data and analytics to respond to, and recover from, the disruptive global pandemic.

“SAS expects to continue to bolster its strong financial foundation in the coming years as it prepares for a potential entry into the public markets,” the company said.

SAS, based in Cary, N.C., in the Research Triangle Park/Raleigh-Durham area, is one of the IT industries’ biggest developers of business analytics, AI and data management software.

Founded in 1976, SAS (for Statistical Analysis System) grew out a data analysis software project at North Carolina State University where the company’s founders, including CEO James Goodnight, were professors and students.

The company has expanded into a broad product line of data analytics and data management offerings from its flagship SAS Viya visual analytics software, to data integration and governance tools, to Internet of Things analytics software, and business analytics applications for specific industries and tasks such as fraud detection and risk assessment in financial services.

The company’s founders have retained ownership of privately held SAS: Goodnight has a two-thirds stake in the company while co-founder and executive vice president John Sall owns one-third, according to a company fact page.

SAS currently has 12,545 employees, according to the company’s website, with about 5,200 at its Cary headquarters.

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