21 July 2003 Business Objects is buying Crystal Decisions in a cash and stock deal valued at $820 million. The acquisition will make Business Objects the biggest vendor in the business intelligence software sector with annual revenues of about $730 million.
The two companies’ products are relatively complimentary, with Business Objects strong in high-end query and reporting tools aimed at ‘power users’, as well as business performance management, scorecarding and ‘digital dashboard’ applications.
Crystal Decisions is strong in mainstream business reporting software and has sold some 14 million licenses for its flagship Crystal Reports software to about 25,000 customers, largely as a result of its partnerships with Microsoft, PeopleSoft and SAP.
Crystal Decisions had filed for an initial public offering at the end of May, a move that was expected to raise some $172.5 million. The Business Objects bid was clearly too good for Crystal Decisions’ venture capital owners to turn down.
Silver Lake Capital Partners and Texas Pacific Group acquired Crystal Decisions — then called Seagate Software — from disk drive maker Seagate Technology in November 2000.
In the year to the end of June 2002, the company achieved revenues of $217 million and the company was expected to report an increase in sales of about a third for the year to the end of June 2003.
The deal is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of the year, subject to approval by Business Objects’ shareholders.