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Ascential Buys Torrent Systems

Torrent's technology adds parallel-processing capabilities to Ascential's data integration software.
In a move to make its data integration and transformation software more scalable, Ascential Software Corp. has acquired Torrent Systems Inc., a developer of parallel-processing infrastructure software for building data warehouses, for $46 million in cash, the companies disclosed Wednesday. The deal was completed Tuesday.

With corporate databases and data warehouses rapidly expanding into the multiterabyte range and beyond, demand is increasing for data integration and data warehouse software that can handle huge volumes of data. Meta Group predicts that the market for data integration products will grow from $900 million this year to $1.3 billion in 2004.

Incorporating Torrent's technology into Ascential's DataStage XE products adds parallel-processing capabilities that Ascential would have needed two years to develop on its own, Ascential CEO Peter Gyenes told financial analysts during a conference call Wednesday.

Ascential executives say the Torrent technology is already integrated with DataStage because of a reseller partnership the companies formed earlier this year. But analysts say there is room for improvement. "I still see them as separate products," says Gartner analyst Ted Friedman. "For the best impact they need to be tightly integrated."

Privately held Torrent had annual sales in the range of $5 million split almost equally between direct sales and resellers. Ascential expects the acquisition will add between $5 million and $10 million to its annual revenue base, according to Gyenes. Most of Torrent's 60 employees, including its development, training, and field service staff, will become employees of Ascential.