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11/2/2010
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Oracle To Acquire ATG For $1 Billion

Full-service e-commerce house will complement Oracle's back-end analytics software and hardware.

Oracle said Tuesday it reached an all-cash deal to buy out e-commerce solutions provider Art Technology Group for $6.00 per share, or about $1 billion—the latest sign M&A action in the IT sector remains hot. ATG provides software and services that help organizations establish Web storefronts and conduct e-commerce operations.

The news drove ATG shares up more than 45%, to $5.97, in early day trading, while Oracle held steady at $29.38. The deal, expected to close in early 2011, remains subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.

Oracle said ATG's front-end commerce tools will fit nicely with its lineup of back-of-house customer analytics and database offerings.

"Driven by the convergence of online and traditional commerce and the need to increase revenue and improve customer loyalty, organizations across many industries are looking for a unified commerce and CRM platform to provide a seamless experience across all e-commerce channels," said Thomas Kurian, executive VP for Oracle Development, in a statement.

"Bringing together the complementary technologies and products from Oracle and ATG will enable the delivery of next-generation, unified, cross-channel commerce and CRM," said Kurian.

ATG's customers include blue chippers like AT&T, Best Buy, AARP, and CVS drugstores. The fast growing company on Tuesday said third-quarter revenues increased 16% year-over-year to $50.3 million while net income of $4.2 million was roughly flat compared to the previous year.

Oracle's deal to buy ATG is the latest splash from a wave of consolidation that's swept across the IT industry over the past several quarters. Big vendors like IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Oracle itself are racing to assemble comprehensive product portfolios that extend from data center hardware to customer-facing applications and services.

Their hope is CIOs will prefer to fulfill the bulk of their requirements through a single vendor rather than risk an integration mess by cherry picking offerings from multiple sources.

Oracle fired the first big salvo with its $7.4 billion purchase, completed earlier this year, of server builder Sun Microsystems, and has followed up with deals for Silver Creek, Convergin, AmberPoint, Phase Forward, and several others.

Since September 15, IBM has announced or closed buyouts of integrated risk management solutions vendor OpenPages, business analytics appliance maker Netezza, data center specialist Blade Network Technologies, and cloud-based marketing software developer Unica. In May, IBM agreed to acquire B2B e-commerce specialist Sterling Commerce from AT&T for $1.4 billion.

And this year alone, HP has bought out Fortify Software, ArcSight, 3PAR, and Palm, spending about $5 billion in the process. Most analysts believe the acquisition sprees are likely to continue as the big three round out their portfolios in bids to top each other.

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