Okta’s Integration Warning Not Consistent With Pre-Merger Promise

Cybersecurity firm admits $6.5 billion acquisition not going well after initially saying it would operate independently.

September 2, 2022

Fifteen months after saying its $6.5 billion acquisition of AuthO would operate as an independent business unit, Okta (OKTA), an identification management platform, now says it’s having trouble integrating the company. In its latest quarterly filing, Okta inserted new language hinting at trouble with the combined sales team and warning investors AuthO may never live up to expectations:

“...our business was impacted by short-term execution challenges related to the integration of our Auth0 and Okta sales organization earlier this year.”

The integration warning seemingly contradicts what Okta said when the AuthO deal closed in May 2021— that AuthO would operate independently. Of course the plan was always to integrate AuthO— in the very next sentence after promising AuthO would operate independently Okta stated AuthO would be “integrated over time.”

We’re certain Okta would dismiss our assertion as nothing more than semantics and remind us that it has always planned to integrate AuthO as evidenced by repeated boilerplate warnings related to the realization of synergies. However, it’s the rest of Okta’s integration warning that suggests to us something more problematic than combining bickering sales teams is at play:

“While we are refining the go-to-market strategy for the combined Auth0 and Okta sales organization, we may not achieve expected synergies and growth projections.”

With Okta shares plunging 35% despite a top and bottom line earnings beat, the go-to-market strategy reference— and its implications for future sales— have investors reading between the lines.

Related: MSFT, CRWD, CTXS, PANW, NLOK, AVGO

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