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Rebooting Software Slowpokes Yields Lucre for 2 Buyout Firms

  • Thoma Bravo and Vista Equity Partners competing for tech deals
  • `They know software, and they have been very successful'
Robert Smith. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Robert Smith. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

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Orlando Bravo grew up in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, the son of a shipping agent, and dreamed of becoming a professional tennis player. Robert Smith, raised in a middle-class black family in Denver, was a tech whiz.

Today, the two run private-equity funds raking in profits in a once overlooked corner of the technology industry: business-software companies past their prime. Their firms, Thoma Bravo and Vista Equity Partners, have led or co-led six of the 10 biggest leveraged enterprise-software buyouts since 2013, data compiled by Bloomberg show.