Transitions Hit Solution Providers

GE sells Global eXchange unit; eConnections due to shut down in July

Tempe, AZ  June 24, 2002  Change is nothing if not constant in the fast-moving e-commerce world, and the newswires today brought additional confirmation of this all-too-truism as General Electric announced it has sold off its e-commerce unit and reports surfaced that solution provider eConnections will cease operations by the end of July.

General Electric announced that sale of its GE Global eXchange Services (GXS) unit to Francisco Partners, a technology buyout fund, for $800 million in a bid to divest itself of noncore businesses. GE will retain a 10 percent ownership stake in GXS.

GXS operates one of the largest B2B e-commerce networks in the world, with more than 100,000 trading partners. Menlo Park, Calif.-based Francisco Partners specializes in buyout and recapitalization investments in technology companies.

David Stanton, a partner at Francisco Partners, said in statement that the investor "will provide GXS with the support necessary to acquire other electronic commerce solution companies in the future, as well as attract and retain key talent to accelerate its growth."

GXS employees have done a great job building a very successful company," said Gary Reiner, senior vice president and chief information officer at General Electric. "However, GXS does not fit GE's core services and growth strategies. We remain committed to maintaining our leadership in digitization, with GXS remaining an important supplier of electronic commerce solutions, and we wish GXS employees and customers continued success.

Meanwhile, iSource Business has learned that eConnections, a solution provider for the electronics and high-tech marketplaces, will shut down as of the end of July, apparently due to continued weakness in the technology sector.

The company, which offered a suite of applications to support Web-based interaction with supply chain partners for companies in the electronics industry, rolled out the latest version of its Quote Manager (eCQM) solution in March. eConnections reportedly is seeking a buyer for its technology.

The company, founding in May 2000 just as the dot-com boom started to go bust, reported that it had raised more than $95 million in funding from both venture capitalists and such technology firms as Arrow Electronics, Avnet, Agile, Flextronics and Oracle Corp.