webMethods Loses its Mojo, Finds it at Ford

Integration software provider lands contract with Ford, stock rebounds

Fairfax, VA  April 17, 2001  I checked the weather in Silicon Valley today. There's a steady breeze coming in from the east. It's my bet that it's the collective sigh of relief coming from the webMethods' corporate headquarters in Virginia.

The forecast at webMethods has been gloomy lately, after the company's stock recently hit its 52-week low of $14.38. And webMethods' employees were likely not encouraged last week when the company announced a stock option exchange program that would allow employees to trade in their $40 per share stock options for a rate that might be a little more realistic.

But good news came yesterday when Ford Motor Company announced that webMethods will provide the integration platform for Ford's global e-business unit CustomerConnect.  CustomerConnect is an e-commerce initiative established by Ford to integrate data that is stored within disparate applications and systems across the enterprise and create a single view of the customer. Eventually, CustomerConnect will evolve into a build-to-order system for customers; a site where customers can build their dream car online, and receive it in 15 days or less. It's a major endeavor on Ford's part, and webMethods should be happy to have their name tacked on to it.

So now webMethods' stock option exchange program may be thrown for a loop. In Monday morning trading, webMethods' stock rose $1.40 to $27.85, nearly doubling since two weeks ago. And as of Tuesday morning, it was at $28.04. Employees might want to think about hanging on to those original stocks.