Progress buys troubled Excelon in $24 million deal

21 October 2002 Application development tools vendor Progress Software has agreed to buy XML database specialist Excelon in an all-cash deal valued at around $24 million (€24.7m).

Excelon’s product set – which includes its flagship Extensible Information Server (XIS) XML database and ObjectStore, its object database product – will be incorporated into Progress’s wholly owned Sonic Software subsidiary, which focuses on web services-enabled enterprise application integration (EAI).

“The acquisition of Excelon strengthens Sonic’s Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) product and brings us closer to our goal of providing the ideal software platform for all levels of distributed, standards-based integration,” said Progress Software CEO Joe Alsop.

However, the integration market is one that Excelon has spent several years trying to crack, without much success. The company, which started in 1988 as object database company Object Design, shifted its focus to integration in 1999, launching an XML database and integration toolset Excelon, and renaming the company after this new product a year later.

Since late 2001, the company has focused on the fashionable area of business process management, using the XIS database to co-ordinate transactions between discrete enterprise applications.

While Excelon has become an early leader in XML databases, it has struggled to achieve awareness in a fledgling market dominated by two much bigger companies — Computer Associates and Software AG. Its older ObjectStore database still accounted for the bulk of revenues in its most recent fiscal year.

Excelon has also experienced considerable financial difficulties in 2002, as a modest increase in sales of its XML products failed to offset plunging ObjectStore revenues. The company was forced into a one-for-eight reverse stock split on 7 September after receiving notice some two months earlier that its stock was trading at such a low level that it would be subject to Nasdaq delisting.

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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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