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Progress Software To Buy Iona Technologies

Iona will become a wholly owned subsidiary, making it likely that its Artix Web integration and Fuse SOA product lines will continue.

Progress Software is buying Iona Technologies to expand its service-oriented architecture product offerings. It will pay $4.05 per share or $162 million, a 16% premium over Iona's average share price for the past six months. The deal is expected to close in September.

Progress will operate Iona as a wholly owned subsidiary, making it likely that Iona will continue to offer its Artix Web integration and Fuse SOA product lines.

Iona was an early implementer of CORBA standards from the Object Management Group, producing one of the first and most successful object request brokers, Orbix. Being able to manage interchanges between software objects became an approach that ushered in a new era of object-oriented programming. With parts of a program organized as discrete objects, complex applications and systems could be built that were easier to understand, maintain, and change.

Iona was founded in Dublin, Ireland, in 1991, to market Orbix, which had grown out of research at Dublin's Trinity College. When Iona went public in 1995, it was the fifth-largest initial public offering for a software company at that time, according to information on its Web site.

Iona later moved into another stage of enterprise integration, the enterprise service bus. It struggled to get its product established among earlier competitors, such as Sonic Software, and eventually placed its Celtix ESB in the public arena as open source code. Sonic Software pioneered the ESB, launching its product in 1999 and being acquired by Progress soon afterward.

"We are proud to inherit Iona's long history of developing some of the industry's most respected technology for integrating mission-critical systems," said Joseph Alsop, CEO of Progress, in a statement announcing the acquisition.

Iona CEO Peter Zotto said Iona's integration products will mesh well with Progress' SOA portfolio.

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