Flood of business intelligence software takeovers

A fresh wave of consolidation is underway in the business intelligence software sector as large vendors plug gaps in their portfolios with acquisitions. The largest disclosed figure in March was Ascential Software's $92 million acquisition of Vality Technology. Ascential was spun out of Informix Software before IBM bought Informix's database business for $1 billion in early 2001. Vality positions itself in the market for data quality assurance – one of the headaches of data management – competing against the likes of Informatica.

The move comes after other product line in-filling by Ascential. In November 2001 the company bought information asset management specialist Torrent Systems, and now with Vality it gets software that uses probabilistic and fuzzy matching technology to prepare data for analysis and reporting. That broadens the Ascential line-up to cover metadata management, data quality and cleansing, and ETL (extraction, transformation and load) technologies in a single offering. Privately held Vality was founded in 1987, and, with more than 500 customers, had revenues of $21.2 million in 2001. The company currently has a marketing deal with Informatica, which will come to an end when the current acquisition is completed in April.

Another key BI deal in recent weeks has been SAS Institute's acquisition of ABC Technologies, a specialist in costing management software. Founded in 1989, ABC has offices in 18 countries, and clients that include Nokia, Compaq, Fidelity Investments and the UN Development Program. A developer of analytic management software, ABC's financial management and scorecarding expertise will be integrated with SAS's strategic performance management technology. This should enable SAS customers to understand aspects of their organisation's performance such as working out the profitability of individual products or customers, and helping companies improve or get rid of unprofitable products.

Recent data analysis and management software deals
Acquirer   Activity   HQ   Target   Activity   HQ   Price  
Ascential Software Data mgnt s/w US Vality Technology Data quality mgmnt s/w US $92.0m
Quest Software App/data mgnt tools US BB4 Technologies Sys &ntwk monitoring Canada n/a
SAS Bus intelligence s/w US ABC Technologies Analytic mgmnt s/w US n/a
SPSS Analytical s/w US Lexiquest Text mining s/w France $2.5m

Recent business applications software deals
Acquirer   Activity   HQ   Target   Activity   HQ   Price  
Intentia Business applns s/w Sweden Catalog-International Procurement s/w Denmark n/a
IRIS Group Accounting s/w UK Freeway Software Payroll software UK €13.0m
SAP Business applns s/w Germ TopManage Financial Sys Financial s/w for SMEs Israel n/a
Sopra IT services France Viewlocity (unit of) Appln integr s/w unit US n/a
TietoEnator IT service provider Finland Ementor Financial Sys Financial s/w &svcs Norway €59.0m

Other major deals
Acquirer   Activity   HQ   Target   Activity   HQ   Price  
Accenture IT services US E-peopleserve HR outsourcing unit UK €80.1m
BEA Systems App infrastruct s/w US Appeal Virtual Machines Java s/w Sweden n/a
Divine Enterprise s/w US Delano Technology Internet mktng s/w Canada $32.0m
Giga Group IT research company US CXP International Research co France n/a
Identix Biometric security US Visionics Biometric security US $261.5m
Indras Sistemas IT services Spain Razono Internet consultancy Spain n/a
Intersil Chip maker US Elantec Semiconductor Chip maker US $1.4bn
LeftHand Networks Network storage prod US North Fork Networks Storage mgmnt s/w US n/a
Loudcloud Managed services US Frontera Managed services US n/a
Tribal Group IT services UK FD Learning E-learning software UK €12.1m
Valtech IT services France DigitalESP IT services US €4.2m

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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