The A-Team

Ariba announces Agile acquisition

January 29, 2001 -- Programs! Get yer programs here! You can't tell the companies without a program. At least, it seems that way. In a move that will hopefully increase synergy (probably the most-used word in the conference call announcing the acquisition) and will definitely increase confusion for those tasked with managing purchasing, e-commerce platform and network services provider Ariba announced today that it will acquire collaborative commerce provider Agile Software Corp.

Under the terms of the agreement, each share of Agile common stock will be converted into 1.35 shares of Ariba, resulting in a net aggregate purchase price of approximately $2.55 billion based on the closing price of Ariba common stock of $40 dollars on Jan. 26, 2001. The acquisition will be accounted for as a purchase and is expected to be completed in the third quarter of Ariba's fiscal year 2001. At time of this writing, Bryan D. Stolle, chairman and chief executive officer of Agile, estimated that there is an overlap of about one-third of the two companies' present customer base.

In a conference call, Keith Crach, chairman and CEO of Ariba, said that the combined resources will represent the best of Internet-based commerce and the best of Internet-based collaboration, coming together to create the leading solution for the new interactive value chain. Crach went on to say that the Internet-based value chains will be powered by unifying commerce and collaboration. We believe that this [unification] is the biggest opportunity in technology today; it dwarfs the shrinking market that ERP and traditional supply chain companies are fighting over by an order of magnitude.

During the call, Stolle addressed the potential of customer relationship management (CRM). In terms of CRM-type marketplaces, there's actually several opportunities. At Dell, for example, we're integrated with Selectica, which drives their front-end order processing system on their Web site so that that system's up to date with what's going on with the product, so customers don't order products that are no longer available. Then on the back end, on the service side, there are integration opportunities that we've been working on with a number of companies, including Seibel, to drive the closed loop between the back end service back into the product side so that issues and problems can be quickly resolved.